Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Neverending Beginnings by Mary Chris Escobar (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Neverending Beginnings by Author Mary Chris Escobar!






Author Guest Post


How much of your book is based on your real life? It’s a question that I would bet good money (or a nice craft beer) that every fiction author has been asked at least once. I’d probably even go out on a limb and say it’s the question we are asked most frequently.

I’m sure everyone’s answer to this is a little different. The quick answer involves quoting the legalize in the front of our books: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously … yada, yada, yada (and not over the best part in this case.)

For me, there is a longer answer that is much more complex. Yes, the story is completely fictitious. I am not giving an account of events that actually happened in my life or the life of anyone else that I know. However, I think for readers to really connect with a story, there has to be an element of realism that requires me to write about things I genuinely know and understand. I think this is especially important in a story like Neverending Beginnings, in which readers are asked to suspend reality and accept the fact that the main character is stuck in an infinitely looping time warp. I imagine a reader saying, Okay, I’ll give you this one-- but everything else better seem really real to me. 

To that end, there are pieces of my life that do end up in my books and I thought it would be fun to share a few of those from Neverending Beginnings with you:

● All the the restaurants in the book are real, as are the food and drinks my characters order. (You can actually get your own serving of that banana pudding Ben won’t share.)
● On a similar note, two of the restaurants I reference, The Belvidere and Mulligans, have closed since the book was originally published. I could have chosen to update this before releasing the print version, but I think it’s a fun way to remember old favorites.
● My husband’s middle name is Ben. Just Ben, not Benjamin. This inspired two things in the novel: obviously a character name and also the fact that Kate’s name is just Kate, not Katherine (which Ben likes to tease her about).
This is the zucchini lasagna that Kate makes. It’s in regular rotation at my house.
● Some of the memories of her mother that Kate shares with Ben are actual memories I have from childhood with my mother (who is, thankfully, still living). This made those scenes pretty emotional to write.
● While I’m talking about the heavier stuff, I wrote Neverending Beginnings after the death of a close friend from childhood. I have no doubt that my own grief experience crept into writing about Kate’s.
● And finally, on a much lighter note, Kate’s apartment, complete with the old safe that is her closet, really exists. I lived in it when I first moved to Richmond and there are pictures of it here.

So for me the answer to the oft-asked question is: yes, quite a bit of my life ends up in my fiction, but only in tiny little pieces and when needed to enhance the story. Sort of the same way tiny grains of salt make food more flavorful.



About The Author




Award-winning author Mary Chris Escobar writes women’s fiction. She was destined to write romance from a young age (as a child, her stuffed animals always got their happily-ever-afters). She lives in Richmond, Virginia in a renovated parking garage with her husband. Find her on her website, on Twitter or just about anywhere good coffee or craft beer is served.




Book Review

never ending beginnings


Neverending Beginnings by Mary Chris Escobar
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: December 29, 2012
Format: Paperback - 274 pages
               Kindle - 1048 KB
               Nook
ISBN: 978-1511902205
ASIN: B00AV8T6H4
BNID: 2940044218307
Genre: Chick Lit / Romantic Comedy / Women's Fiction


Buy The Book:
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Barnes & Noble
iTunes 
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Smashwords 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.


Book Description:

This contemporary romance is Groundhog Day meets My Best Friend’s Wedding. Readers who like women’s fiction by Meg Cabot, Emily Giffin and Allison Winn Scotch will enjoy this romantic comedy. Kate is alarmed to find out that her best friend Amy is getting married after dating for only six months. Her alarm turns to shock when she learns that the groom-to-be is Kate's old college ex. As the big day approaches, Kate's inability to hide her feelings is threatening to ruin her friendship with Amy. Kate’s last minute, vodka-fueled wedding toast has her wishing she could turn back the clock and make things right. Imagine her surprise when she wakes up the next day and finds out she can. Forced to relive one of the most painful weeks of her life, Kate slowly works to repair the damage she has done. In the process, she learns a lot about herself and the cynically charming best man, Ben. 


Book Excerpt:

The screen on my phone lit up. I had silenced it before I went to bed. It was a text message from Ben. Did you get the squash yet? I smiled and clicked on the message to reply, then changed my mind and called instead.

“Hello,” he answered. There was a little gravel in his voice. It was nice.

“Just wanted you to know that there is a whole basket full of squash and salsa and spaghetti sauce in the trunk of my car.”

“You didn’t mention the salsa and spaghetti sauce the other night. I mean that’s a total game changer, I wouldn’t have even given you a hard time for blowing me off over that.” I could hear him smiling, which made tingles run the length of my spine.

“So what are you up to?” I asked.

“I was actually cutting out tiny people to glue onto this model I’m working on.”

“Like stick people?”

“No, tiny photographs of actual people.”

“Really. Where do you find something like that? Is it like clip art?”

He laughed. “Sort of. There are actually whole websites where you can download them for architectural purposes.”

“What are they wearing?”

“Um ... are you trying to chat up my tiny model people? Because I think I might have to protest on their behalf. I mean they’ve never even met you. . Now if you’re asking me ... ”

I hadn’t, of course, meant that at all, but I laughed. And tried desperately to fight back the onslaught of images and feelings the mere hint of intimacy with Ben seemed to produce. Perhaps calling him while I was lying in bed had been unwise.

“I, um ... just wanted to make sure they were, you know, not going to embarrass themselves by being out of date ... fashionably speaking. That’s all,” I tried to recover.

“Oh, I see. They certainly appreciate the concern.” He was still smiling.

“So, other than an update on the squash situation, and propositioning your tiny model people, any word from Jack?”

“Nope.”

“Oh.”

“I can call you tomorrow if I hear, though.”

“Yeah, that would be great.”

“So, are you having a good visit with your dad?” he asked.

I hesitated. “Yeah.”

“You don’t sound so sure there.”

I tried to remember if he knew about my mom. I don’t think it had come up this round, but there was the dessert ... except that was last round. The combination of tired and tingly all over was making details hard at the present moment, so I just asked, “Did I tell you my mom passed away last year?”

“No. Wow. So I guess it is sort of weird being back there, huh?”

“Yeah.”

“Have you been back a lot?”

“No. Not much at all, actually.”

“How ... I mean was it sudden ... if you don’t mind me asking?”

“No. Not sudden. Cancer. And actually thanks for asking, most people are scared to.”

He was quiet, probably not sure what to say. As usual with him, I kept talking. “So my dad is starting to go through things. Wants my help tomorrow. I’m really dreading it.”

“I guess so,” he said sympathetically.

“He’s right. It’s time, and intellectually I know that. It just sucks ... you know, emotionally.”

“Yeah.”

We were quiet again, but it wasn’t awkward. Never awkward.

“I didn’t mean to unload all that on you ... I barely know you ...”

“No, no ... thanks for telling me. Now we won’t have that awkward moment later when I ask about your family.”

“Right, awkward, sort of like how I just asked what your little people were wearing.”

“I’d file that more under adorable, actually. And for the record, seriously, if you ever want to ask what I’m wearing, that would be nice, too.”

“Duly noted.” I smiled.

“So I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything tomorrow. Otherwise, Tuesday night?”

“Sounds good.”

“Good night,” he said.

“Good night.”

I hung up relaxed and sleepy. As I drifted off, I thought for the tiniest of split seconds, that possibly a phone relationship with Ben might not be the worst thing in the world.


My Book Review:

If you are looking for an entertaining romantic comedy that has a humorous Groundhog Day meets My Best Friend’s Wedding theme, then Neverending Beginnings is the book for you!

Author Mary Chris Escobar weaves a fun tale that transports the reader into Kate Crenshaw's madcap reliving of the same week over and over again after waking up the day after flubbing her drunken toast at her best friend Amy's wedding to Kate's ex-college boyfriend Jack. Kate gets many chances at repairing the damage that she has done, and along the way finds an unexpected romance with the charming best man Ben!

Neverending Beginnings is a thoroughly entertaining romantic comedy that will simply keep the reader in stitches. With a great mixture of humor and sweet romance, the reader follows Kate as she relives the week from hell over and over again with many chances to make things right after causing drama and trouble because of her inability to hide her true feelings about everything (can you say "diarrhea mouth"?!) lol And if trying to repair a rocky relationship with her best friend isn't enough, Kate gets an unexpected chance at romance with Ben, the best man, if only she would give in and take a chance! I really enjoyed following Kate as she tried to figure out how to fix her mistakes in order to end the rewinding cycle of the exhausting time warp that she finds herself in, and I couldn't help but cheer at her developing romance with Ben. Author Mary Chris Escobar cleverly weaves an enjoyable tale that leaves you wanting more!

If you are looking for a delightfully lighthearted romantic comedy to wile away a lazy summer day, then take a chance and read Neverending Beginnings, it will leave a smile on your face!


RATING: 5 STARS 





Contest Giveaway

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Virtual Book Tour 



Tour Schedule:
July 6 - Sweet N Sassy Bookaholics – Review
July 7 - Living Life With Joy – Guest Post. Q&A & Excerpt
July 8 - Coffeeholic Bookworm – Review
July 9 - Mallory Heart Reviews – Review & Excerpt
July 9 - Julie Valerie’s Book Blog - Review & Q&A
July 10 - Sinfully Good Reads – Excerpt
July 13 - Hey Said Renee - Review & Guest Post
July 14 - CDyess Writes – Excerpt
July 17 - Samantha March – Excerpt
July 20 - Polished & Bubbly – Review
July 23 - ChickLit Goddess – Review
July 24 - Chick Lit Plus – Review
July 28 - Writing Pearls - Review & Excerpt
July 31 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
August 3 - Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt



Twenty Something: A Marching Ink Collection (Book Blast Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book blast event for Twenty Something: A Marching Ink Collection!


CLP Blog Tours




About The Collection

Twenty-Something Collection





Twenty-Something, A Collection from Marching Ink 

The first collection from Marching Ink features three full-length novels in Twenty-Something. From the good girl that is tired of playing by the rules in the new adult novel from Laura Chapman, to the friendship between two women that isn’t what is seems in the women’s fiction novel from Samantha March, and then the loveable Roxy that will give us plenty of laughs and touching moments in the chick lit novel from Cat Lavoie. While all characters are indeed Twenty-Something, we believe this collection can be enjoyed by readers in a variety of ages. 


Hard Hats and Doormats by Laura Chapman 

After losing out on a coveted promotion at work, Lexi Burke is done playing the nice girl. Her first order of business: Giving in to her longtime workplace crush. But Lexi soon learns that balancing a workplace romance and her job might be harder than she anticipated. 


A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March 

While Brynne and Portland seem to have an ideal friendship, cracks are starting to show as their lives take a turn for the complicated. Not willing to go to one other with their secrets, one woman begins to feel shut out and the other enters into a web of lies to protect herself. Their journey will explore several questions of friendship, and show that happily ever after might not be in the cards for everyone. 

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie 

When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancĂ© who can’t wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together–or will she break under the pressure? 



Book Excerpt:


Hard Hats and Doormats – Laura Chapman

Chapter One

Alexis Burke @theLexiBurke

Can a person refer to employees as Jackass 1 & 2 in an official report? Asking for a friend. #HRProblems #ThisIsMyLife

The universe keeps telling jokes and I’m the punch line. #IHaveProof

Okay, seriously. When did this become my life? Can I get a mulligan? #ObscureGolfAnalogyForLife

In kindergarten Sunday school, Lexi Burke imagined Hell as a fire-ridden, hate-filled pit below Earth’s surface. On a mighty throne of blackened steel and skulls, Satan preyed on the souls of the damned for eternity.

Twenty years later, she discovered a new version of Hell. It was a windowless conference room on an oil platform off the coast of God-only-knew-where Texas in the middle of May. The devil took form in two men, both middle-aged and madder than a hornets nest. Despite the sweat building on her neck, she shivered.

When did babysitting old guys become my job?

How mad do hornets get, and what does their nest have to do with it?

Where did I come up with that analogy?

Solving those mysteries had to wait. Casting a glance at the figures gathered around the badly chipped table, she considered the situation at hand. The two men, their union reps, and a team of local managers were going yet another round in their verbal sparring without a semblance of resolution. The representatives wanted the men to go back to work. The managers wanted to give them pink slips.

As the HR manager assigned – albeit at last-minute – to the investigation, she wanted to keep everyone from killing each other. Not an easy task, considering the two men under investigation already gave murder their best shot.

According to the initial report, the incident happened over the weekend. The men engaged in a particularly heated discussion about college football. The man to her right apparently took offense to the one on her left using derogatory names to describe his beloved team.

She grimaced at the list of profanities. Three or four of them merited HR intervention on their own. Then again, others struck her as downright creative. Note to self: Use “dag nab ass backwards pile of swamp waste” in a sentence later today.

The fight escalated when Mr. Right expressed his displeasure by raking his broken glass across Lefty’s face. A few days later, the wounds swelled red and blotchy. Her stomach churned when she examined their faces closely.

His opponent fared no better. Lefty managed a couple of solid jabs with a shard from a shattered plate. His cheek and eyebrow were held together with the help of twenty-two stitches.

How did these men still have jobs? Surely trying to kill your co-worker violated the Employee Code of Conduct. But because they had no previous violence on their records, the company’s agreement with the union guaranteed them the right to an investigation – this investigation.

“I told ‘em to back off and leave my Tigers alone,” Idiot Number One shouted. “But he started waving around his God-damned glass. I had to grab hold of something to protect myself. A man’s got a right to defend himself and his pride.”

“What the hell are you talking about, son?” Moron Number Two chimed in. “You were the one bent outta shape in the first place. He’s pissed because my Hogs’ll beat the hell out of this pussy lover’s team next year.”

Hogs? Tigers? Did these men seriously put their jobs and lives on the line over the Arkansas and LSU football teams? Did Lexi have to take team allegiances into consideration when she hired new employees to avoid catastrophe? Were SEC fans this torn up about football year-round?

Will we have full-on riots come September?

She struggled to recall the last two football seasons, but nothing came to mind. In her early days at Gulf America, she’d spent most of her life adjusting to the heavy travel schedule of a field HR representative. Current events, sports, and anything unrelated to HR dealings never entered her mind. She instead concentrated on getting through each day, never mind remembering what happened in the rest of the world.

What kind of fights should she expect when the Big 12 schools in Texas started beating up on each other in the fall?

God help us all.

Pulling her shoulder-length brown hair off her neck, she longed for a breeze. Not the kind from men yelling at each other, but a real, honest-to-God breeze.

She sighed and stared back at her notes. Even if the investigation proved the men deserved firing, she wouldn’t make the decision. Her worthless boss would be using whatever recommendations she gave him.

Dale seldom left his office during the work day. Unless he heard an ice cream truck. Then he raced out the door with a dollar in hand. Why bother leaving for something important–– like his job–– when he had minions like her to do his dirty work in the field? He reserved his energy to sweep in at the end when he took credit and – by all appearances – saved the day.

This time, he didn’t even have the courtesy to make his decision before dawn. In her eagerness to please – the department had a promotion up for grabs – she overlooked the faux pas that sent her straight to hell. Sure the Assistant Regional Director job would be more work, but it came with a healthy salary increase and less travel. And at twenty-four, she’d be the youngest director at headquarters.

The shouts escalated.

Is a promotion worth this?


****


A Questionable Friendship – Samantha March

Chapter 2

Portland

I shut the door behind me and took a deep breath. Turning the faucet on, I gave my face gentle pats with the cold water, so I didn’t ruin my makeup but was still able to calm down. It was ridiculous that I was getting so upset. Brynne didn’t do anything wrong, she was just being Brynne. But her comment about scaling back and the fight I’d had with Trent on the way over made my stomach upset. I just needed a minute for myself, to breathe and be able to stop smiling through the pain.

I glanced at myself in the mirror, hoping no one else could see the bags under my eyes from the lack of sleep the night before. I had visited my hair stylist just yesterday so my blonde tresses were smooth and shiny, but that was about the only glowing quality I had at the time. I itched to be able to say something to my friend, but I sensed Brynne was going through something herself at the moment, and didn’t want to burden her with my (probably silly) problems. Knowing Brynne, she would drop everything and focus on me and only me until we worked through it. She might even have me take some time off from the store, and I really didn’t want that. EJs was my escape.

Realizing I had been in the bathroom long enough, I patted my face and hands dry on the lavender towel that was hanging next to the sink, to match the lavender hand soap and lavender diffuser Brynne had set up. That made me smile, to think about my friend who loved nothing more than her house being in order.

“There she is! Portland, I put some cheesecake salad on a plate for you. I hope you like it.” Brynne handed me a small plate that was filled with the delicious smelling dessert, and I smiled at her gratefully.

“And I helped make it!” Emmy Jo squealed, before digging back into her own piece.

I sat in my regular seat next to Brynne, across from my husband. “You did an excellent job, missy. And, mmm, it’s so delicious!” I said that last bit around a bite, and wasn’t lying. Brynne was a natural in the kitchen.

“It’s about time for you to start thinking about bed, don’t you think?” Brynne directed her question at Emmy Jo.

“No! I get to stay up with the grown-ups tonight.” Emmy Jo pouted and folded her arms. One little finger poked out and grabbed a strawberry, quickly stuffing it in her mouth before folding her arms again like nothing had happened. I took a sip of wine to hide my smile.

“Grown-ups also have to go to school in the morning, and you don’t want to fall asleep next to Guy, do you?” Brynne continued, looking in mock horror at her daughter.

EJ’s eyes grew wide as she considered this. “He might put glue in my hair, or color marker on my face, momma. I don’t want to fall asleep next to him!”

“Well, then, let’s get you to bed on time so you don’t have to worry about that.”

Emmy Jo took one more large bite of her dessert and raced out of the room. Brynne sat for a moment watching her retreating form, then laughed. “I didn’t think that would work that well. She’s been complaining about this Guy for a few weeks since the seating arrangements changed at daycare, but I really think she might have a crush on him. I’ll be back.”

“Glue in hair and markers on the face? I thought that only happened at parties where you were the first to pass out,” I said.

Aaron stood from the table. “I’m going to go say good-night. Let’s hope those wild parties stay away from Emmy Jo for a long, long time.” He winked at me before leaving. I shook my head. Aaron was one of the most over-protective fathers I had ever met, but it was cute. He was a great dad and a great husband, and I knew how lucky both Brynne and Emmy Jo were.

“Well, it’s just you and me, babe. How about a quickie on the porch?” Trent leered at me, and I glared back.

“You know as well as I do that it takes Emmy Jo about five minutes to get settled. They’ll be back in no time.”

“I said quickie. I can wrap it up in two minutes tops.”

“Wow, that is so romantic and really turns me on, Trent. Please, keep talking.”

“I was just trying to liven things up around here. Sue me for finding my wife attractive.”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh, don’t be such a baby. We had sex two days ago before you left, so don’t act like you’re all deprived either.”

“What is wrong with you tonight? You’ve been acting weird all day.”

The hair on my arms rose. Trent had been able to see through me too? Brynne was an obvious one, she was my best friend, but Trent didn’t usually notice – or care – if my moods were off. Shit.

“I’m just not feeling the best today. I hope I’m not coming down with a cold or anything. The weather shifts are starting to get to me I think.”

Trent peered into my face for a moment, making me want to shake under his stare. “You do look a little pale. Did you sleep well last night?”

I shook my head. “Not really. That’s probably a part of it too.”

“Do you want to leave soon so you can try to tuck in early? I can probably round up a sleeping pill or two for you to take.”

And he’s flipped to the caring, compassionate husband. I just never knew who I was going to get from one moment to the next anymore. “No, that’s okay. I need to talk with Brynne about the store some more. I’m sure I’ll be okay.”


****


Breaking the Rules – Cat Lavoie

Chapter One

I’ve never been good at keeping secrets from Oliver Frost. It might be because I’m a terrible liar but, most likely, it’s because he’s known me all my life and can read my face like an open book. Every eyebrow twitch, every blink, every fake smile. And, right now, I feel like I’m strapped to a lie detector. At any second the needles might go haywire like they do in the movies when the devious main character is lying through her teeth.

Calm.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Cough.

“I really don’t like the sound of that,” Ollie says, sitting on the edge of my bed, shaking his head. “Are you sure you don’t want me to go to the drugstore and get you some cough syrup or something? Or I could make you soup. Or tea with honey.”

Under normal circumstances, I’d appreciate all this attention. But I’ve been trying to get Ollie out of the apartment for the last twenty minutes so the last thing I need is him hovering over me. Maybe relying on my lackluster acting skills wasn’t the best idea. Faking an illness was all I could come up with to convince Ollie that I need to stay home without making him suspicious. My original plan was to accidentally ‘twist’ my ankle while walking up the stairs but, in the end, I decided to keep it simple and go for the common cold. There’s less limping involved.

I don’t think Ollie has any idea that I’ve been planning a surprise farewell party for him—which is a miracle since I’ve been sneaking around every night this week and coming home from the grocery store with enough food to feed a small army. The party is tonight and I have a million things to do. And I can’t do them with him here.

I touch my supposedly feverish forehead and erupt into another coughing fit. “You should go,” I say in a raspy voice, grabbing a handful of tissues. “I wouldn’t want you to catch my germs and get sick before leaving for London.”

“Right,” Ollie says, turning away from me. “I can’t believe I’m leaving tomorrow.”

I can’t believe it either. I want to say something but I’m afraid we’ll start talking and get really sentimental and I can’t deal with that right now. I’ve been trying to keep myself busy so I don’t have to deal with it at all. But I know that sooner or later I’m going to have to face the fact that my best friend and roommate is flying halfway across the world to help supervise the construction of a new earth-friendly building in London. I choose later.

“You should really go or you’ll be late. I’ll call you if there’s anything I need, okay?”

He nods and plants a quick kiss on my forehead. I close my eyes and hope he can’t hear my heart beating out of my chest. I’m so close to pulling this off.

“Promise me you’ll rest and take it easy today?” Ollie says, picking up his messenger bag off the floor. “And if Greta calls, please don’t answer. Better yet, hang up on her.” He slings the bag over his shoulder and looks back at me. I wave and watch as he walks out of my room. A few seconds later I hear the front door close with a bang and start breathing again.




About The Authors


laura chapman


Laura Chapman is the author of The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats and the Autumn and Tuck shorts, which appear in Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Until she fulfills her dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find her in a bar penning her next novel. 

Stay Connected:
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marchsamantha


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

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cat lavoie1


Cat Lavoie lives in Montreal, Canada with her tempestuous cat, Abbie. Her debut novel, BREAKING THE RULES, was published in August 2012 by Marching Ink. ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN was published in October 2013. If Cat isn't reading or writing, she's most likely watching too much TV or daydreaming about her next trip to London. To find out more about Cat and her books, please visit www.CatLavoie.com and follow @Catenabi on Twitter. 

Stay Connected:
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Buy The Collection:


  




Contest Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Blast Event



Book Blast Event Schedule:

July 27 - BookGroupies - Excerpt 
Jul 27 - MalloryHeart Reviews – Review & Excerpt 
July 28 - Sinfully Good Reads – Excerpt 
July 28 – CDYessWrites – Excerpt 
July 29 - LivingLife With Joy - Excerpt 
July 29 - HeySaid Renee - Review & Excerpt 
July 30 - Caroline Fardig - Excerpt 
July 30 - KarmaFor Life Chick – Excerpt 
July 31 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Excerpt 
August 3 - Ski-Wee’s Book Corner – Review


CLP Blog Tours

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Up To I Do by Samantha March (Book Release Promo Event / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Author Samantha March, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book release promo event for Up To I Do!






About The Book 



Up To I Do by Samantha March
Publisher: Marching Ink
Publication Date: July 25, 2015
Format: eBook - 221 pages
               Kindle - 768 KB
               Nook
ASIN: B012L6IP3E
BNID: 2940150767386
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction


Buy The Book:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Goodreads


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a book release promo event hosted by Author Samantha March.


Book Description:

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

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






About The Author



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


Author Website
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Unclaimed Regrets by Stacy M. Wray (Book Review)

In association with AToMR Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Unclaimed Regrets by Author Stacy M. Wray!




Unclaimed Regrets by Stacy M. Wray
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: February 25, 2015 - PB / March 2, 2015 - eBook
Format: Paperback - 262 pages
               Kindle - 1086 KB
               Nook - 1 MB
ISBN: 978-1507761502
ASIN: B00TGG163O
BNID: 2940046575989
Genre: Contemporary Romance / YA & NA Flashbacks 


Buy The Book:


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by AToMR Tours.


Book Description:

This is a love story that is told through Adelyn Winters’ and Trey Masterson’s POV and reflects the time they met in high school to the present day.

I’m in limbo. If you look close, you’ll see that I’m basically going through the motions. If you look even closer, you’ll see that I’m empty and frustrated as hell with my life.

And then it arrives. That four by six card that tells me ten years have gone by when I wasn’t paying attention. I’m paying attention now.

Pulling my dusty box of memories from the closet shelf, my index finger slowly sifts through the keepsakes that represent the aura of Trey Masterson. The boy who moved from Missouri to Vermont and swept me off my feet the first day of our sophomore year. The boy who I never thought I’d have a chance with but he only had eyes for me. The boy I fell in love with and never stopped.

When we see each other again at our high school reunion, every feeling I ever had for him bleeds from my heart and leaks into every cell of my existence, and I finally feel like I can breathe for the first time in years. I don’t quite get the same reaction from him. In fact, his reaction is downright…cold?

Never knowing the reason of our undoing after I went away to college, I just want some closure. But we can’t seem to carry on a conversation without sparking a slew of emotions – each word igniting all the hurt that’s been buried for ten years.

During the week of our stay in our small town in Vermont, we keep crossing paths but jealousy, bitterness and tragedy threaten to hinder any hopes of possibly rekindling the passion we once shared.

This book contains language and sexual content.


My Book Review:

Unclaimed Regrets is a wonderful second chance at love story that will take the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride.

Author Stacy M. Wray weaves a delightful tale of first love, unclaimed regrets, and second chances that follows the emotional journey of high school sweethearts Adelyn Winters and Trey Masterson.

Set in the small town of Northfield, Vermont, Adelyn and Trey's story is told in the first person narrative that alternates between the present with flashbacks to their high school past. The reader is easily drawn into Adelyn and Trey's love story that begins in their sophomore year of high school, and follows their lives up to their tenth year high school reunion. What starts out as a lovely first love / high school relationship that was filled with happiness and hopeful plan for a future together, abruptly ends without any explanation when Adelyn leaves for college. As the years progress, neither can forget the other - yet resentment, hurt, confusion, misunderstanding, and regret keeps them apart until they come face to face at their tenth year high school reunion.

Unclaimed Regrets easily captivated me from the beginning. I couldn't help but really enjoy the lovely high school relationship that Addie and Trey shared, and as their heartbreaking story unfolded with alternating flashbacks to the past intertwined with the present, I couldn't help but ache for them, and hope that they would be able to resolve the sad misunderstandings and unclaimed regrets that had kept them apart for so many years. As Addie and Trey's journey towards getting a second chance at rekindling their love unfolds, the reader will experience the full gamut of emotions, and will put a satisfied smile on their face.


RATING: 5 STARS 





About The Author



Stacy Wray has always enjoyed writing growing up and wrote for her high school newspaper. It wasn’t until recently when her husband challenged her to write a book that she decided to give it a go, writing The Girl from the Kitchen Store in September 2014. Her second book Unclaimed Regrets was released in March 2015. With her two children full grown, she spends extra time reading, re-modeling her home room-by-room, and hanging with family. She works in the family business in accounting in Kokomo, Indiana and is currently working on her third book Finding Karma.


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Virtual Book Tour 



Click on the above link for the list of tour participants.





My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me by Ruxandra LeMay, Psy.D. (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me by Author Ruxandra LeMay, Psy.D.!






Book Review




My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution for a Happier Marriage by Dr. Ruxandra LeMay, Psy.D.
Publisher: LJAR Services, LTC.
Publication Date: May 1, 2015 - eBook / June 11, 2015 - PB
Format: Paperback - 102 pages
               Kindle - 231 KB
ISBN: 978-0692436776
ASIN: B00W5TXGGY
Genre: Nonfiction/Psychology/Self-Help


Buy The Book:
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Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book.


Book Description:
Is “not enough sex” a daily or weekly argument in your relationship? 
Is sex at the bottom of your to-do list after mopping the floors, laundry, and packing the kids’ lunches? 
Would you rather catch up on your favorite show than have sex? 
Then this book is for you. 
Nowadays, women work more than ever; they juggle a career, a household, kids, bills, pets, their own parents and in-laws.  In a relationship, marriage to be precise, sex is on a continuum: from hot and sweaty to non-existent. The author has seen numerous couples in therapy, all struggling to make the transition from “I can’t breathe without you” to “I would rather sleep than have sex.” Although most couples experience these changes, many don’t know how to handle them. Women feel exhausted, guilty, and wondering whether they need medication to feel some sort of sexual desire again. Men feel unloved, misunderstood, and highly frustrated. Nobody wins. And sometimes, the table turns and the man has a lower sex drive. 
This unique book offers a practical solution that is a great compromise for both genders. It’s fast and easy to implement and maintain. It’s the real deal. The goals are realistic, easily attained, and make an actual difference in the relationship. 
Dr. LeMay also talks about the fact that the female and male sex drives are different but there is no reason to apologize for such a difference. There is nothing wrong with women that have a low sex drive and not all men are addicted just because they like sex. 
This book offers a compilation of tips and ideas to increase assertiveness and honesty during sex. Finally, the author introduces 10 insights into what affects female sex drive such as husband’s participation in household chores, his effort in looking good for his spouse, and his willingness to accommodate his wife’s sexual needs.

Book Excerpt:


Why write The 2-Minute Solution? Well, at first, because my husband insisted on it. I can’t tell you how many times we have argued over whether this book will make a difference. In his mind, he is fighting on behalf of all the married men who are possibly misunderstood and sexually and emotionally deprived, and he strongly believes that this book will help many.

Interestingly enough, while the psychologist in me totally agrees with him, the female part of my brain continues to side with the stereotypical question: “Why does he care about sex that much?” This is kind of crazy, because I didn’t have this question when we first started dating. Honestly, I probably would have felt confused if he hadn’t cared about sex back then.

How did it all start? Well, we have been together for seventeen years and married for twelve years. We definitely think of our relationship in BC and AC terms - that is, “before and after children.” Our children are the most amazing people in our lives, and we are a hundred times happier and more content since they were born. They are also the reason for a lot of changes in our lives.

Before children, our lives consisted of work, lots of spontaneous date nights, movie marathons, and a whole lot more adrenaline between the sheets.

After children, our lives consist of getting dressed, making breakfast, packing lunches, getting dressed (did I say that already? That’s because I’ll bet one of us is not dressed yet), brushing teeth, driving kids to school, picking kids up from school, doing homework, taking kids to sports practice, getting dinner ready, feeding everyone, washing everyone, reading stories, and getting ready for the next day. Did we feed the dogs? How about the turtles? Or the fish? Are we done for today? Because I just want to get some sleep before we do it all over again tomorrow. A few years ago, there was a mom on YouTube who could sing her entire daily routine in one minute. Back then, when I was single, I thought she was weird. Today, I am that mother.

On the rare occasions when I go out to Happy Hour with my girlfriends, also mothers, we compare notes about our kids, about our spouses, and most often about how tired we are. And with that, occasionally we laugh about how our intimate lives have changed. Because I am a fairly private person, I am not quite ready to dive into specific details about how my sex life has evolved in the last eight years, but let’s just say that it has morphed into something a lot less steamy and romantic and a lot more practical.

This brings us to how the idea behind this book was born. Fortunately, while all of these changes were taking place, I was also getting a graduate degree in psychology. Both my husband and I agree that psychology kept us together, helped us grow, and allowed us to truly learn about each other.

As a child of divorced parents, I have developed an interest in how relationships start, maintain, and end, so it was a natural progression to focus on couples’ therapy during my graduate studies.  Over time, I have gathered a lot of notes from the hundreds of books and articles, hours of therapy work with clients, and conversations with friends and relatives, and I have used many quotes and ideas from these sources in my writing.

Although there are a number of good books on sex, marriage, and communication, I have always found that most of the couples’ books are too long, are too complex, and try to cover too many intricate aspects of a relationship. Many readers get lost in all of the information and have a difficult time finding areas of focus or ideas that could be immediately applied to day-to-day life, so they can experience the much-needed relief in a timely manner.

Becoming a wife and a mother helped me develop a different and much better way of understanding and relating to my clients than any of the theories covered in graduate school.  I realized that most of these books, although great resources, are often difficult to implement when your daily routine is as chaotic as I described earlier. Thus, I have tried to simplify the process of marital therapy to five key elements: sex, communication, financial matters, parenting, and dealing with in-laws (extended family).

This book will cover only two of these areas: sex and communication. I generally believe that if spouses are able to manage these two areas, they will have a significantly easier time working out the others.

I won’t lie. Marriage is hard. Once the blinding lust is gone, marriage is work. It is about constant compromise, scheduling, taking turns, sharing, and giving up personal likes for the benefit of the children and the integrity of the relationship. And even if you manage to get all of this right, there isn’t a guarantee that the relationship will survive. It ultimately comes down to the ability of each spouse to let go, as well as the partners’ level of optimism, sense of humor, and degree of commitment.

Obviously, when a marriage becomes work (and it will), the quantity and quality of sex change. This is not my opinion; this is just a fact of life. It simply depends on how much it changes. If it disappears or if it becomes the topic of excruciatingly painful daily conversations, you and/or your spouse have to do something about it, if you want the relationship to survive.

My straightforward approach to sex in a marriage has often been called “unromantic” or “too pragmatic.” There is some truth to this, but I prefer to describe my method as “a commonsense, easy-to-implement, and effective approach to a challenging time in a couple’s life.” And it works.

My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2- Minute Solution for a Happier Marriage is a self-help book about sex and communication in a marriage. It is a humorous and straightforward book that talks about the reality of a marital relationship, not about the fairy tale you see in movies. With this book, I hope to:

First and foremost, challenge the traditional mind-set that good sex has to last for at least thirty minutes of foreplay, thirty minutes of penetration,and thirty minutes of cuddling.

Share the truth about the differences between men and women in terms of sex drive, desire, and arousal.

Offer a solution for the times when these differences widen, such as illness, stress, or being busy with work and parenthood.

Help spouses understand each other’s experience and find the time, energy, and motivation for sex in a crazy and fast-paced day-to-day routine.

I am sure you have already picked up from the tone of the book that women (especially busy, tired mothers) are less interested in sex. And although this statement is true for many, many women and is the focus of this book, I also want to make it clear that I am not generalizing and I am not saying that this is every woman’s experience. 

The truth, however, is that most women nowadays work full-time jobs, still take care of the children and the household, and sometimes help care for ailing parents, relatives, or friends. Most women who are physically, mentally, and emotionally drained from juggling all of these tasks just don’t have the energy or motivation to have sex.

Nonetheless, this is not one of those books that tell you it’s your job to keep your man happy.  It’s not going to tell you to buy sexy lingerie, how to find anyone’s secret G-spot, how to give mind-blowing oral sex, or how to have one-hour-long orgasms several times a night. You can find that advice in each of the last five hundred issues of Cosmopolitan or Glamour magazine. Most likely, you already know how to do most of those things. Most likely you used to do some of these things. But today, that is such a thought of the past. Today, the only thing you are looking forward to is watching a few episodes of Scandal, snuggling with a good book and a glass of wine after the kids are asleep, or getting a full nine-hour beauty sleep.

In all fairness, I also know women who struggle with the extreme opposite situation: their husbands are not interested in sex. Although the core of this book is directed toward women with lower sex drive-related issues, the ideas in this book are very much applicable to both scenarios; thus, both men and women could benefit from reading it.

As a matter of fact, for best results, I encourage you to read this book with your partner. Reading this book together is an opportunity to find out how you both feel about the topic and to understand each other’s perspective. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to learn that you are not alone. The experience of whatever is happening (or not happening) in your marriage is shared by many, many other couples. That insight in itself is often therapeutic.

However, the most important part is that The 2- Minute Solution is a hands-on book that strongly encourages practice. No self-help book, no matter how great it is, will make a difference unless the readers are willing to practice the skills described. To help with the practice aspect of this book, I have included “The Insight Corner” at the end of each chapter. This box describes a variety of assignments that are supposed to make you think about, talk about, and do things that may be out of your comfort zone, but are great stepping-stones for change. Please remember that practice takes time and failure before one can experience long-lasting success.

Those who know me can vouch that I am a big believer in “practice what you preach,” so I can say that my husband and I have been working at these skills for about seven years. I won’t lie; it did take some work, but this work was worth the time and effort. And don’t get me wrong, these skills and ideas will not resolve all of your marital problems, and they will not prevent arguments from happening. As a matter of fact, we still experience ups and downs that make me doubt my expert status at times, but, overall, we have made it so far, and we still like each other.

Please keep in mind that I wrote this book to complement and not to replace other medical, pharmacological, psychological, and spiritual resources available for couples’ health and marital therapy. There will be times when it is recommended to consult your physician, a sex therapist, your pastor, a friend, or a relative on the thousands of things that could go wrong (or right) in your relationship. I wrote this book, however, to stimulate a different perspective.

The thoughts and sex-provoking ideas described in this book have helped many, but they may not be helpful to all. While I am a licensed psychologist with experience in couples’ therapy, I am not a physician or a licensed sex therapist. Please consult with a physician, especially if you have a condition that may affect your sexual endeavors.

Finally, just to cross this off the list and ward off all of the critics who may line up to say that this book will take women back to the dark ages, this is not about a “wife’s duty to perform” or about some sort of  submissive perspective. I meant this book to be a modern and fresh “hands-on” approach (no pun intended) to highlight how biology, communication, and psychology can come together successfully and contribute to a loving and committed relationship in today’s fast-paced and often stressful home environment.


My Book Review:

We all know that it takes a lot of commitment and work to have a successful marriage, especially in today's world when both partners have to juggle and find the balance between their busy careers, family, and couple time.

In My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me, author Ruxandra LeMay, Psy.D. provides the reader with an interesting self-help guide that will help couples understand each other and help improve their martial relationship.

This is a fast-paced and very informative self-help guide that thoughtfully addresses a variety of challenges that couples face in their marriage, especially in the areas of sexual intimacy and communication. The author utilizes her professional knowledge and interweaves it with her own personal experiences to connect with the reader in order to provide practical and insightful information that can help couples embrace, understand, and enhance their marriage.

My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me is an easy to read, helpful and practical relationship guide that I would recommend to all married couples.


RATING: 5 STARS 






About The Author


Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a licensed psychologist in Phoenix, Arizona. After earning her undergraduate degree in Business Management, she spent 15 years in the corporate business world. While working with numbers and negotiating contracts, she realized that she enjoyed working and motivating co-workers with different personalities and different ways of doing things. She liked working with people, helping them focus on their strengths, and mediating communication with their management or conflict with peers. It was during this time, she decided to dive into the world of psychology. She went back to school and earned her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology. 
During her formal training, she continued with her interest in relationships, this time in family and couples’ therapy: pre-marital education, marriage counseling, and post-divorce mediation. In addition, she worked with adults and adolescents struggling with addiction, anxiety, and mood disorder related issues. Last but not least, as she became a wife and mother, women’s life concerns became another topic of interest. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, ante- and post-partum challenges, low sex drive, and parenting have all been at the forefront of her study for the last ten years. 
She has a very direct and practical style. Therapy takes time and money. They are both valuable and she does not want to waste your time or your money. She wants to offer the most effective recommendations that you can implement right away so you can feel immediate relief from whatever it is that you are facing. Her book, blogs, and therapy are all a reflection of her belief that even small changes, if they are the right ones, can make a big difference in someone’s life. 
Her latest book is the nonfiction/psychology/self-help book, My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution for a Happier Marriage.

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Virtual Book Tour




Click on the above link for the list of tour participants.