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, August 1, 2014

French Twist / French Toast by Glynis Astie (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 French Toast by Author Glynis Astie!

Author Guest Post

80s Movie Wisdom

There are certain moments in our lives that we remember with absolute clarity. One of mine occurred when I discovered that many important lessons could be gleaned from the stellar collection of movies that I watched in the 1980s. I was writing my first book, French Twist, and I found my mind continually wandering to my favorite John Hughes and Cameron Crowe movies from my childhood. I giggled as my fingers flew over the keyboard, peppering the dialogue of my characters with indelible quotes from these cinematic gems. Suddenly, I realized that these movies were jam packed with critical life lessons for future generations to come.

At first, it may seem like a bit of a stretch, but if you really think about it, you will see that there is much knowledge to be acquired from your favorite movies from the decade of excess…

Lesson #1: Don’t Lie

This may seem rather obvious and is definitely one that our parents told us over and over again, but with his script for Pretty in Pink, John Hughes was able to convey this idea in a way that seemed decidedly less lame. Just cast your mind back to the wonderfully idealistic and honest Andie, played by Molly Ringwald. She is not naïve enough to miss the socioeconomic differences enforced en masse by the students at her high school, but she will not allow herself to be treated poorly by any of the “in-crowd” and values telling the truth above all else. In the end, Blaine, played by the gorgeous Andrew McCarthy, realizes what an idiot he has been, sticks it to his heinous best friend Steph, played with such delightful creepiness by James Spader, and begs Andie’s forgiveness. Even as a teenager I could see that the massive amount of lies told by the popular kids were bringing them nothing but pain. I was totally ahead of my time!

Lesson #2: Money Isn’t Everything

This is a lesson that takes YEARS to learn and some people will never truly take it to heart. Admittedly, it is exceedingly hard to grasp - especially when you are a kid and money appears to be a very simple solution to every problem. But again, our man John Hughes comes through with some serious brilliance in Some Kind of Wonderful. Here we meet Keith, played by the dreamy Eric Stoltz and Amanda, played by Leah Thompson, both high school students from the “wrong side of the tracks.” While Amanda essentially sells herself to “run with the rich and the beautiful” (Thank you, Mary Stuart Masterson!), Keith is content to hang with his other economically challenged friends, stumbling through the usual teenage insecurities and big dreams for the future. Amanda picks up the scraps of her rich friends, but it is only after she sees the true nature of her revolting ex-boyfriend, played so effectively by Craig Sheffer, that she understands that money cannot buy happiness, only a very small approximation of it.

Lesson #3: Crazy Things Can Happen

Crazy things certainly happen far more often in the movies, but real life has its moments. (French Twist is the true story of how I met my husband and it is full of crazy happenings!) Enter once again, the amazing Mr. John Hughes, with the Sixteen Candles. Here we find Samantha, played by Molly Ringwald, torn between being angry with her family for forgetting her SIXTEENTH birthday and mooning over THE Jake Ryan. Every girl had a Jake Ryan in high school. You know, the incredibly hot guy, who was also sweet, charming AND athletic? Fictional Jake is also wealthy and interested in a moderately dorky girl rather than his smokin’ hot girlfriend; why wouldn’t we be enamored with the idea of such a thing? OK, OK, so there is a degree of suspension of disbelief at work here, but Sixteen Candles reminds kids of the very important lesson that these crazy things CAN happen. Let’s not shatter their dreams with the fact that the odds are not ever in their favor. (Points for cross generational reference!)

Lesson #4: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

I find this lesson a bit funny considering that at this point in time, I spend a lot of time thinking about cover design, since people most definitely judge them before buying my books, but we are going with the metaphorical sense on this one. In another of his cinematic triumphs, The Breakfast Club, John Hughes warns us about the dangers of stereotyping. We are presented with John – the criminal played by Judd Nelson, Andrew - the athlete played by Emilio Estevez, Claire – the princess played by Molly Ringwald, Allison - the basket case played by Ally Sheedy and Brian - the brain played by Anthony Michael Hall. Each character comes with a corresponding image and background and it would be easy enough to pigeon hole these kids based on their roles. However, as the movie progresses, we see why this is such a colossal mistake. We quickly learn that no one’s life is ever really what it seems – good or bad – and we all have a lot more in common than we thought. And though the future of John and Claire’s relationship is absolutely doomed, at least their short stint together removed the deep rooted animosity that was based on good old fashioned assumptions.

Lesson #5: Never Underestimate the Impact of a Grand Gesture

Now it is time for us to hand the reigns over to Mr. Cameron Crowe and his extraordinary film, Say Anything. Simply hearing the title of this movie instantly evokes the image of Lloyd Dobler, played by John Cusak, holding a boom box over his head that is blasting the unforgettable Peter Gabriel song “In Your Eyes.” I can easily picture him standing in front of his blue Chevy Malibu in that borderline skeevy trench coat, with a look on his face that was part determination and part anguish. Whether you are a teenager, or perhaps a little, um, older you can easily appreciate the bravery it takes to put yourself on the line like that. And really, would we all swoon over magnificent scenes like this in both movies and books, if we did not desperately want them to happen in real life? I think not.

I hope that you enjoyed my musings on the wisdom of my favorite 1980s movies. I could have droned on and on for pages, but I know that you have a busy life to lead! If you have any interest in reading about a few real life grand gestures executed by my incredibly romantic husband of twelve years, please check out my French Twist series!

About The Author

Glynis Astie never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist.

As this novel is only the beginning the story, Glynis has just released the sequel, French Toast and has begun writing the final chapter in the trilogy, French Fry. When she is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.


Book Review

French Twist by Glynis Astie
Book 1: The French Twist Series
Publisher: Tikinou Publishing 
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Format: Paperback - 295 pages
             Kindle - 487 KB
ISBN: 978-0615874043
Genre: Chick Lit / Romantic Comedy

BUY THE BOOK: French Twist

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 Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Sydney Bennett had spent her life in pursuit of perfection. She planned, weighed her options and made careful choices based on calculated outcomes. Through all of her efforts, she had come pretty close to perfection, if she didn’t say so herself. She had fled the cold winters in New York for sunny California, found a job that she loved and lived in the same town as her sister, and best friend, Kate. The one area of perfection that had always eluded her was her love life. No matter how hard she tried, she always ended up with a broken heart. After a particularly traumatic breakup, Sydney vowed that she was done with love.

Just as Sydney threw herself into her new plan to forget about men, a handsome Frenchman tossed all of her intentions out the window as he swept her off of her feet. Louis Durand had lived a life filled with excitement and adventure. He was impetuous, intelligent and incredibly charming. So naturally, he scared Sydney half to death. From the moment they met, Louis and Sydney’s romance progressed at warp speed. Sydney did her best not to run, but her deep rooted relationship anxiety threatened to provide an easy exit. When Louis mentioned marriage before Sydney even knew his favorite color, she was more than tempted to reach for her running shoes. Will she be able to put her fears aside to follow her heart? The one thing that Sydney will learn is that sometimes perfection comes with a twist...

Book Excerpt:

Meet Sydney Bennett

Repeat the mantra, Sydney. Breathe. “Good enough is not nearly as wonderful as perfect, but it is good enough.” How often had my mother said those words to me? Countless times. She would always look at me with her warm brown eyes, smile reassuringly and squeeze my hand. During a particularly traumatic period in high school, she went as far as framing the words for me and asked me to read them (and take them to heart) at least once a day. Though I believed in the truth of these words, on this day as I had on every other day, one thought kept occurring to me. Shouldn’t your wedding day be the one day where perfection is expected?

I had tried to stay calm, but things kept going wrong and I REALLY don’t like it when things go wrong. I am definitely not a “roll with it” type of person. From a very early age, any divergence from the plan I had formulated in my head was enough to send me into a tailspin. I thought that if anything happened outside of what I had planned for, I would lose control. And losing control was not something that I enjoyed. I therefore planned for every possible scenario and worried obsessively that I had not planned enough. My father had always told me that if worrying were a sport, I would be the champion of the world.

But, I digress. Let’s get back to the problem at hand. It all began with my wedding party. In my infinite wisdom, I had asked six women to be my bridesmaids. My older sister and best friend, Kate; my sister-in-law, Zoe, and four of my closest friends. All six had gladly accepted the role, but a week before the wedding all hell broke loose. First, my friend Maya came down with mono. Who has SHE been kissing lately? I saw her every day and the identity of the infector was a complete mystery to me. Three days before the wedding, my friend Amanda got the chicken pox. I’m sorry, but who didn’t get that as a kid? The parents in the neighborhood where I grew up actually took their kids to “parties” to make sure that they had the chicken pox when they were young. Then the day before the wedding, my friend Holly broke her leg in four places and had to be immobilized for an unforeseen amount of time. She has yet to tell me exactly what she was doing when she broke her leg, but I get the feeling that it was highly embarrassing. Seriously??? THREE bridesmaids down? Was this a bad omen for anyone involved in our wedding party? Focus, Sydney. No problem; Kate and I would reformat the ceremony along with the new bridesmaid/groomsmen ratio.

Then the breathtakingly beautiful gown that I had planned to get married in was MISPLACED two days before the wedding. The fitted bodice was intricately beaded and the full tulle skirt hung perfectly. When I wore it, I felt like a princess, as every woman should on her wedding day. The hotel manager told me that he was extremely sorry that my dress had been misplaced (um….lost!) and would be happy to put in a good word for me at the costume rental shop down the street. He felt that the Juliet gown would give “an exciting period feel” to our “incredibly lackluster” wedding. I informed him, as my fiancé held my arms back that he would have a much better idea of what sorry was once I was through with him. He seemed to be completely nonplussed, leading me to assume that he had dealt with many a bride in his time. I sat in the hotel lobby in a state of shock for an hour before I was able to move. I closed my eyes and tried to slow my breathing, but my mind wouldn’t stop racing. Was this really happening to me? What had I done to deserve this? And most importantly, what in the hell was I going to wear?

French Toast by Glynis Astie
Book 2: The French Twist Series
Publisher: Tikinou Publishing
Publication Date: April 2, 2014
Format: Paperback - 335 pages
             Kindle - 897 KB
ISBN: 978-0615974880
Genre: Chick Lit / Romance

BUY THE BOOK: French Toast

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 Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Sydney Bennett is back! And her pursuit of perfection is alive and well. Naïve to the core, Sydney believed that when she finally married the man of her dreams, the hard part was over. Following a civil ceremony as a means to keep Louis from being deported, Sydney continues to plan the fairytale wedding that she had dreamed of since the age of five. Much to her chagrin, she discovers that her mother-in-law is planning what seems to be a rival wedding in France that SHE has been dreaming about for her only child since before he was born. How will poor Sydney be able to ensure two perfect weddings in the midst of Louis’ fruitless job search? Especially when her mother-in-law’s idea of perfection appears to be having Sydney embarrass herself in front of hundreds of French people that she has never met?

As if she didn’t have enough on her mind already, Sydney finds herself faced with the trials and tribulations of being a wife. Sydney had always heard that marriage was hard, but she thought that this was just a ruse that married couples portrayed in a bid to make single girls feel less desperate. But as the bills pile up and emotions run high, she realizes that there may just be some truth to this statement. And as she watches Louis’ perfection fade away before her very eyes, she begins to wonder if she made a rash decision in marrying a man that she had known for a mere six months.

With all of the obstacles that Sydney and Louis will encounter, will they be raising their glasses in celebration or watching their impulsive marriage crash and burn? One thing is for certain, Sydney and Louis Durand are headed for one hell of a toast…

Book Excerpt:

Meet Sydney Durand

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. She couldn’t possibly be serious. Could she? I opened my eyes, looked over at Louis and tried to smile. I can only imagine the look that registered on my face, but I highly doubt it was anything remotely positive. Louis had just finished telling me about his mother’s latest plans for our wedding. I took another deep breath and reminded myself, yet again, that I had agreed to let her plan the wedding in its entirety (with the exception of choosing my wedding dress.) Why would I agree to something so completely insane? It might have had something to do with the fact that this would be our third wedding.

That’s right, I said THIRD wedding and no, I do not have an Elizabeth Taylor complex. And I can prove it! Allow me to give you the short version. After a disastrous romantic history dating back to college, I, Sydney Bennett, was swept off of my feet by the incredible Frenchman, Louis Durand. Louis was in California on business, but following our first week together, he accepted a transfer from his company’s Paris office to the San Jose office. To the great shock of our families and friends, we became engaged a few weeks later. We began planning a beautiful wedding in Monterey for the following September, only to be thwarted by Louis’ unexpected job loss in January. In order to avoid his deportation, we were married shortly thereafter in my home town of Haverstraw, New York. So that my dreams of a beautiful wedding would not be crushed, we elected to have the originally planned event in Monterey as well. Everyone needs gorgeous wedding photos! The first wedding was definitely more practical than gorgeous.

One would think that two weddings would be more than enough for one couple in love, but due to Louis’ status as an only child with an extremely large extended family and his mother’s dream of a wedding that his whole town (population four hundred) would attend, we simply had to have one more wedding. Besides, a wedding in the beautiful French countryside sounded amazing, right? This way my family and I would have the opportunity to experience the wedding customs of Louis’ country as he and his family would experience the customs of ours at the wedding in Monterey. (The first wedding was kind of light on customs as it was predominantly a vehicle to keep Louis in the country.) My mother and siblings were thrilled at the prospect of a trip to France, while my father bemoaned the fact that he would have to set foot in traitorous territory. He is German and likes to complain. Although I was absolutely sure that he was practically drooling at the prospect of the gastronomic experiences in his future.

While three weddings did afford a certain amount of stress, in the end, I think that it helped me. My mother had planned the first wedding (in the span of one week), I was planning the second wedding (in the span of one year) and Louis’ mother was planning the third (in the span of Louis’ lifetime.) This allowed for all parties to end up with a wedding they were happy with. I must admit that the idea having three different wedding dresses is kind of fun. Hey, now! There is no need to judge! The three events are very different levels of formality. The first was an informal town hall wedding, the second would be a formal evening wedding and the third would be an afternoon wedding in the French countryside. If you really think about it, you will realize that having three wedding dresses is an absolute necessity.

Now that my seemingly ludicrous statement of three weddings has been explained, we can return to the problem at hand. Louis has just informed me that his mother, Simone, has purchased an ensemble for me to wear to the rehearsal dinner. (Honestly, this is becoming comical. This will be our THIRD rehearsal dinner.) Let me remind you that Louis’ mother has a very...particular fashion sense. All of the garments she wears are short, tight, brightly colored and/or bedazzled. Given the fact that she is sixty years old, my hat goes off to her. I hope that I have the guts to wear miniskirts into my sixties. She is my hero! Having said that, I have never been one to dress do I put this? Let’s just say that my taste is slightly more conservative.

Louis was practically in tears from laughing so hard as he described the dress to me. Simone had chosen a gold sequined halter mini dress with red satin roses on the straps and red satin ruffles along the bottom of the skirt. She also saw fit to purchase red satin stilettos with matching red satin roses on the toes. I resisted the urge to strangle my husband and began to pace the room. Clearly I made a serious error in judgment when I allowed Simone to make all decisions for the wedding except for my wedding dress. In my defense, I really didn’t think that her purview extended to my wardrobe choices for pre wedding events. It was becoming quite obvious that I had a lot to learn about her… 

My Book Review:

Inspired by her real life whirlwind six month romance and marriage to her French husband, Sebastien, author Glynis Astie weaves an entertaining romantic comedy series called The French Twist Series!

In French Twist, the first book in the series, the reader is introduced to Sydney Bennett, a single twenty-something New Yorker who has moved to San Francisco. Sydney hasn't been lucky in the romance area, but when she meets handsome Louis Durand, who is town on business, Sydney is swept off her feet and finds herself in a whirlwind love affair that leads to marriage in six short months!

In French Toast, the second book in the series, Sydney's story continues after her civil ceremony to Louis. She makes plans for a fairytale wedding in California that she has dreamed of having since she was a child, only to have her mother-in-law planning a rival wedding in the France! Suddenly their whirlwind love affair and impulsive wedding is anything but romantic when drama, mishaps, and real life trials and tribulations stand in their way to happily ever after!

The French Twist Series is a thoroughly entertaining set of romantic comedies. The reader can't help but get drawn into Sydney and Louis' whirlwind love affair, and follow their martial adventures as they deal with the crazy antics, drama, and mishaps that ensue when real life catches up with them. I loved that the author uses the inspiration from her own real life whirlwind romance and marriage to her French husband to create a series that has a wonderful mix of humor, romance, wit, and sarcasm. I look forward to reading the continuation of their story in French Fry, the upcoming third book in the series. Both French Twist and French Toast are a lighthearted fun read that will keep you in stitches and make you a believer that fairytale romances really do exist ... even when real life puts obstacles in the way!


Contest Giveaway

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Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

July 7 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
July 8 – Chick Lit Goddess – Q&A & Excerpt
July 9 – Book Reviews by Dee – Guest Post & Excerpt
July 10 – Chicks That Read – Guest Post & Excerpt
July 11 – Two Children and a Migraine – Review & Excerpt
July 14 – Jiha’s File – Excerpt
July 15 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Excerpt
July 21 – Ski-Wee’s Book Corner – Review
July 21 – Ski-Wee’s Book Corner – Excerpt
July 24 – Steph the Bookworm – Review
July 25 – Annabel and Alice – Review
July 28 – AJ Book Club Review – Review 
July 29 – Sky’s Book Corner – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
July 30- Book Suburbia – Excerpt
July 31 – Book Mama Blog – Review
August 1 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
August 4 – The East Village – Review

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Tea Shop On Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Tea Shop On Lavender Lane!

Author Guest Post

Sisterly Love

I always wanted a sister. Never got one. Just brothers. Maybe that’s why my sisters-in-law are so special to me. They’re always there to be a listening ear and to rejoice with me over my little triumphs in life. Girlfriends are important, too, especially for those of us who never had sisters. Sisters of the heart, we share common interests and good times.

Those relationships with other women are important, aren’t they? But that sibling bond, whether with brothers or sisters, is really important. You all grew up together, united against a common enemy (your parents!). You played together and fought off bullies for each other and you sometimes fought with each other over everything from clothes to boys. Especially boys. In fact, one of my best buddies actually stole her sister’s guy and wound up marrying him. At the time her sis wasn’t very happy about that, but today both sisters laugh about it.

Maybe that’s where I got the idea to have the Sterling sisters find themselves fighting over a man in The Tea Shop On Lavender Lane. Bailey and Cecily Sterling are devoted sisters, and when Bailey comes home to rebuild her life and build a new business Cecily is all for it. Until Bailey goes into partnership with the man Cecily has started seeing. So, how devoted are they? When it comes to men, do sisters share?

How about you? Have you ever fought with a sister or best girlfriend over a guy? There’s sibling love and there’s true love. Is there a way a woman can have both? Neither of my Sterling sisters think so and we’ve got trouble in Icicle Falls. And, I must confess, I sure had fun stirring up that trouble!

About The Author

Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. She's happily married and has three children.

Writing since 1989, Sheila’s books have been printed in several different languages and have been chosen for book clubs such as Doubleday as well as for Readers Digest Condensed books. Her best-selling novel On Strike For Christmas was made into a movie and appeared on the Lifetime Movie Network, and her novel The Nine Lives Of Christmas has just been optioned for film and is slated to be a Hallmark movie later this year. Her novel Angel Lane was named one of Amazon’s Top Ten Romances for 2009.

When she's not making public appearances or playing with her friends, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women's hearts: family, friends, and chocolate. You can visit Sheila at her website,

Her latest book is the women’s fiction/romance, The Tea Shop On Lavender Lane.


Book Review

The Tea Shop On Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts
Book 5: Life in Icicle Falls Series
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Format: Paperback - 352 pages 
             Kindle - 899 KB
             Nook - 741 KB
ISBN: 978-0778316183
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: The Tea Shop On Lavender Lane

BUY THE SERIES: Life in Icicle Falls
Book 0.5: Summer In A Small Town: Welcome To Icicle Falls
Book 1: Better Than Chocolate
Book 2: Merry Ex-Mas
Book 3: What She Wants
Book 4: The Cottage On Juniper Ridge
Book 5: The Tea Shop On Lavender Lane
Book 6: The Lodge On Holly Road (Publication Date: October 28, 2014)

Discuss the book at PUYB Virtual Book Club on 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 Tours.

Book Description: 

When it comes to men, sisters don't share!

After a fake food poisoning incident in L.A., Bailey Sterling's dreams of becoming a caterer to the stars collapse faster than a soufflé. Now Bailey's face is in all the gossip rags and her business is in ruins. But the Sterling women close ranks and bring her back to Icicle Falls, where she'll stay with her sister Cecily.

All goes well between the sisters until Bailey comes up with a new business idea—a tea shop on a charming street called Lavender Lane. She's going into partnership with Todd Black, who—it turns out—is the man Cecily's started dating. It looks to Cecily as if there's more than tea brewing in that cute little shop. And she's not pleased.

Wait! Isn't Cecily seeing Luke Goodman? He's a widower with an adorable little girl, and yes, Cecily does care about him. But Todd's the one who sends her zing-o-meter off the charts. So now what? Should you have to choose between your sister and the man you love (or think you love)?

Book Excerpt:

The party was going perfectly until the hostess clutched her stomach with an agonized cry and crumpled to the floor in a heap.

Rory Rourke, her boyfriend and star of the new TV series Man Handled, knelt by her side and barked, “Someone, call 911.”

“Call her doctor,” said someone else.

“Call The Star Reporter,” the victim said faintly.

And that was when Bailey Sterling knew she was in trouble.

She’d been so excited to land this gig catering Samba Barrett’s party. Samba wasn’t an Emma Stone or Kristen Stewart but she was .... someone. Sort of. And with her catlike green eyes and red hair everyone said she was on her way up, like the rest of her party guests. And surely that had meant Bailey was on her way up, too. The West Hollywood apartment had been packed with hot young actors and actresses. As she’d slipped among them bearing trays of goodies she’d heard more than one person rave about the food and had envisioned a whole string of catering gigs after this one.

The shrimp salsa in Phyllo cups had been an especially big hit. “Oh, my God, this is to die for,” America Winston (from the new reality show Hard Ass) had raved. Bailey had smiled modestly and kept circulating, while her assistant Giorgio served up stuffed mushrooms. She’d been working hard for the last three years to earn a reputation as caterer to the stars and things were finally starting to happen.

Except now here was Samba Barrett, writhing on her living room floor, groaning in agony. Only twenty minutes ago she’d been eating those shrimp cups and laughing. Did she have food allergies she hadn’t told Bailey about? Samba had gone over the menu with Bailey, approved everything. How could this have happened? Was Bailey going to be known as killer of the stars?

Thirty people gathered around the actress, some offering advice, some taking pictures with their cell phones, others texting wildly. Bailey stood on the fringe and nervously downed one of her own appetizers.

“You’ll be okay, baby,” Rory Rourke assured Samba.

“I think I ate something bad,” she whimpered.

“Oh, no, that’s not possible,” Bailey protested and everyone turned to look at her. One woman aimed her cell phone at Bailey, capturing her miserable expression. This couldn’t be happening.

But it could. And it did. Now Bailey felt sick. She lost her grip on the tray of canapes she was carrying and down they went, the tray landing on a Jimmy Choos of one of the party guests who was busy recording her hostess’s misery on her cell phone.

The woman let out a yelp and jumped back, then glared at Bailey.

“Sorry,” Bailey muttered, and bent to scoop the mess onto the tray. In the process she managed to get in the way of another guest, nearly tripping him.

He didn’t settle for glaring. He swore at her.

Caterer hell, that was what this was. Bailey bolted for the kitchen and hid out, watching the drama unfold from behind the counter.

My Book Review:

Welcome back to picturesque Icicle Falls, Washington! In the fifth installment of the Life in Icicle Falls series, author Sheila Roberts provides her readers with a tale of romance and sisterly bonds.

In true Sheila Roberts fashion, The Tea Shop On Lavender Lane is told in the third person narrative that alternates between sisters Bailey and Cecily Sterling as they struggle to maintain their sisterly bonds when bad boy tavern owner Todd Black complicates their lives with a mixture of business and pleasure!

The reader is transported back to the picturesque Bavarian style small mountain town of Icicle Falls, Washington, which is nestled in the Cascade Mountains, where they catch up with all the familiar townspeople from the previous books in the series, as well as meeting new lovable characters.

This series is simply delightful, the storyline picks up where the last book left off, it flows seamlessly and is so entertaining that you can't help but become captivated and invested in the lives that inhabit Icicle Falls. The reader easily gets drawn into this story about family, friendship, support, and finding love. Through the laughter, smile, and tears, you'll find yourself cheering on Bailey and Cecily as they each overcome lifestyle obstacles, insecurities, family drama, and strive to find joy and love in their lives.

With a wonderful cast of characters who are realistic and lovable, humorous dialogues and interactions, and a richly detailed description of the town of Icicle Falls, The Tea Shop On Lavender Lane is a lighthearted romance story full of love, laughter, friendship, family, and living a good life, that will leave you wanting to return to Icicle Falls for another enjoyable visit. I love, love, love this series!

The Tea Shop On Lavender Lane is the fifth book in the Life in Icicle Falls series.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, June 16
Book Featured at Confessions of a Reader

Tuesday, June 17
Book Review at Books Reviews, ETC

Wednesday, June 18
Book Review at Kimberly’s Bookshelf

Thursday, June 19
Book Review at I Hope You Dance

Monday, June 23
Book Review at Book Club Sisters

Wednesday, June 25
Book Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, June 26
Book Review at Book By Book

Monday, July 7
Book Review at Reading Reality
Book Review at A Simple Life, Really?

Tuesday, July 8
Interview at Acting Balanced

Wednesday, July 9
Book Review at My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews

Thursday, July 10
Book Featured at Booklover Sue

Monday, July 14
Book Review at Turning the Pages

Tuesday, July 15
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Always With a Book

Thursday, July 17
Book Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Monday, July 21
Book Featured at Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, July 22
Book Review at Laurie Here-Contemporary Fiction and More-Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 23
Book Review at Kaisy Daisy’s Corner

Thursday, July 24
Book Review at Doing Some Reading

Monday, July 28
Book Review at Under the Boardwalk
Book Review at Ashley’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, July 29
Book Review at Thoughts in Progress

Wednesday, July 30
Book Review at Brooke Blogs
Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Thursday, July 31
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Return To Love by Kathleen Shoop (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Return To Love by Author Kathleen Shoop!

Author Guest Post

Behind The Scenes: Return To Love

Return to Love is romance novel that I never thought I would write. Why? Because eighteen months ago was the first time I’d written a word of sweet, romantic fiction in my life. Yes, I’d written about love in award-winning historical and women’s fiction, but it wasn’t until I was invited to contribute a novella to an anthology called, Bliss, that it occurred to me that I could write romance, that I even wanted to. And boy, have I fallen in love with it.

Bliss is a collection of stories that are all set in the same house on the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina, but each story is set in a different era. How fun is that? Well, I was one of the last to choose my era and the 1960’s was one time period available. I narrowed my setting down to 1969 and I could not be more thrilled with what I found in researching that era! My novella in the collection is called Home Again and from that story, came two characters who I could not stop thinking about. April and Hale Abercrombie—two lost souls who find love together.

Return to Love is a novel, book two in the April and Hale series, and it takes the reader further into their relationship—a journey filled with sweet moments, passion, and humor. Still, knowing that a great romance holds the couple at its center, didn’t keep me from formulating a world around them that went beyond the well-worn stereotypes of the time (or at least I hope so!).

Some struggles of the Vietnam War era are well known and I do draw from them in making Hale a navy pilot. Hopefully he comes across as a fully developed, layered man and not just a hanger holding up a uniform. Likewise when I created April, I wanted to go beyond the well-known archetypes of the time. I wanted her to embody elements of women who were experimenting with freedom and control over their livelihoods, but as I researched I found that was not always a straight path from daddy’s little girl to independent woman breaking glass ceilings. I wanted her to embody the struggle between the two, the struggle that is less often portrayed—a woman with all the advantages, skill, education and desire for a career who is not sure how that will fit with her personal goals.

In Return to Love, April must deal with the loss of a late-term pregnancy. Hale must return to her in order to help her through it. Again, this area of research was fascinating and compelling. The push and pull between a couple caught in the distance and stress that war creates is material rife with passion. But again, there is humor. If nothing else, it is clear that the most resilient people in life are those who find pockets of laughter in grief, in worry, and from this ability to see absurdity in sorrow, there is hope.

It’s my hope that readers love April and Hale as much as I do and find their story heartwarming and satisfying. They are unique fun characters who led me to learn a lot about life at a time that found love and peace to be the motto by which it was defined.

About The Author

Amazon Top-100 Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Her latest book is the romance, Return to Love.


Book Review

Return To Love by Kathleen Shoop
Book 2: The Endless Love Series
Publisher: Oakglen Press
Publication Date: May 28, 2014
Format: Paperback - 261 pages
             Kindle - 848 KB
             Nook - 186 KB
ISBN: 978-1499173291
Genre: Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Return To Love

BUY THE SERIES: The Endless Love Series
Book 1: Home Again
Book 2: Return To Love

Discuss the book at the PUYB Virtual Book Club on 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 Tours.

Book Description:

April and Hale Abercrombie’s love is tender and sweet. While he serves in Vietnam, their marriage is marked by trust and the belief that they will grow old together with a gaggle of grandchildren at their feet. But, their charmed marriage changes in the face of losing their newborn daughter.

On leave from his tour, Hale can barely wait to hold his wife and her help her heal. When he arrives, his embrace, his touch, and his love are as perfect as April remembered. Their reunion is passionate and their physical connection is strong and soothing. But, April’s heartache remains.

Hale stumbles through his attempts to prove to April that their future will be rich and full of wonder. His good-hearted, but take-charge approach causes her to retreat. Even in grief, April can see Hale’s earnestness, yet she finds solace in putting space between them. With a short time before Hale must return to war will they see that real love endures in the face of adversity, that their marriage can be strengthened even when it looks as though all is lost?

Set on the beaches of the Outer Banks, Return to Love is the second book in the Endless Love series. Book one, Home Again, was named a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Book Excerpt:

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, Autumn 1970

Hale’s lungs were tight as he gripped his duffel in one hand and held his uniform over his shoulder with the other. He flew up the steps of the small fishing cottage that his wife was renting from the Shelby family and arrived on the wide porch. He had imagined the moment he’d see her so many times that he felt like he was performing a play. He dropped the duffel right there and knocked on the screen door. Why was he knocking? She knew he was coming. He threw the door open and walked into the small entry. It opened into the family room. He wiped his feet while he scanned the space. “April!”

His heart beat fast and heavy. Yes, he was home under difficult circumstances. Hale’s wife was having difficulty coping with the stillbirth of their daughter. He was worried for her and knew if his skipper granted hardship leave that things must be bad. Yet he was determined, sure as he had finally arrived at the Outer Banks, he was confident that he could make her well. He just needed to see her, to hold her, to tell her everything was going to be okay.

The Guess Who’s “No Sugar Tonight” was playing on the radio. The tune brought a smile to his face. He rushed down the hallway and poked his head into two bedrooms and a bathroom before finding the room April had been using. He tucked his naval uniform into the closet, went back to the kitchen, and turned off the radio, straining to hear any noise that might signal April’s location. He went back outside, inhaling the salty air.

Where was she? He leapt off the porch and crossed the gravelly lane called Beach Road stepping onto the sand, craning his neck to catch a glimpse of her. A seagull clipped Hale’s head as it landed off to the side then flipped a whitefish into its mouth. As far as he could see, the beach was empty, yet he thought he should walk it, search for April. He didn’t know which direction she would have walked, but he started out anyway.

Heading south, a flock of black birds escorted him from above. Scores of them moved together like one great wing flapping in the wind. The whoosh of their collective descent was punctuated by their coarse, throaty screams.

The sand worked into Hale’s shoes, each particle stabbing at the skin below his ankles. He pushed one shoe off and then the other, leaving them near a smattering of driftwood that had been pushed ashore by high tide. The birds dropped, their calls growing louder, drowning out the surf. One by one the black skimmers rained from the sky like bombs, their red beaks bright against the gray sky that had crept in with Hale’s arrival. Some of the birds landed in the shoals and poked and prodded at the sand.

He came upon the largest cluster of birds, the beige sand peeking out in small patches among the blackness, and his eye went to a different form, a woman sitting rod straight, motionless in the center of the black avian shroud. Her blonde hair whipped in the wind like the sea grass at his feet. Hale stopped. His heart thumped. April. He willed himself to breathe, to move toward her. He’d never seen such a sight, the way she seemed partly born of the sand, partly able to sprout wings and fly away.

“April!” he said, waving even though her back was to him. She did not respond. He called again, his words turned back to him by the stiff ocean gales. He jogged toward her, weaving in between napping skimmers, hopping over those that were too busy eating to move out of his way.

When he had nearly reached April, he halted again. He suddenly felt nervous about his excitement; he felt her sadness as though they shared the same soul. He’d never seen such a stunning sight in his life. Her elegance was apparent even sitting on a beach, in the middle of birds. She turned her head slightly, her profile facing him. His stomach flipped. Oh my God, is she beautiful. The wind tossed her hair, making her appear as though she were posing for a magazine shoot.

Even from a distance, even from the side, he thought he could see the sparkle of her blue eyes. The way they were set, wide on her face, made it seem as though he saw something slightly different every time he looked at her, something more, something alluring, hypnotizing. Those eyes.

There was no woman more captivating, he was sure. Or more lonely. Her sadness seemed to leap over the sand to him, to well up from the soles of his feet, filling him, squeezing the breath from his suddenly heavy lungs. If he felt this, then her pain must be far greater. Her emptiness more profound. He’d helped her create life, but he hadn’t been there when it ended.

My Book Review:

In the first book of The Endless Love Series, Home Again, author Kathleen Shoop introduced the readers to April and Hale Abercrombie's journey towards true love. Their journey continues a year later in the second book in the series, Return To Love, where they have gotten married and are expecting their first child. But a heartbreaking tragedy occurs while Hale is serving in Vietnam, April had delivered a stillborn daughter. Hale comes home on a temporary leave, and as the couple grieves the loss of their newborn daughter, April struggles with the loss in an unbearable way that has her both needing Hale and pushing him away. Return To Love is an emotional and poignant story of how a couple struggles to face the hardship of a traumatic loss, and have the strength to find a way back to each other in order to heal, love, and move forward.

Set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina during the Vietnam War period of the early 1970s, author Kathleen Shoop weaves a hauntingly beautiful tale of love and loss that follows the journey of a young couple who struggle with life's daunting hardships: a husband serving overseas in Vietnam, a pregnancy that ends in a stillborn birth, their struggle to deal with the grief from their traumatic loss, and their attempt to save their fragile marriage and move forward without losing each other.

Return To Love is an amazing love story that will pull at the heartstrings and stir the soul. The reader can't help but feel compassion and empathy for the young couple as they deal with the loss of their newborn child, and their struggle to help each other heal in order to save their fragile marriage. The author delves into the subject of loss, war, and marital relationships in a thoughtful and respectful style that makes the reader want to lend support and wrap their arms around April and Hale. It is a raw and tender story that will have the reader experiencing the full gamut of emotions, from heartbreak to the heartwarming belief that the strength and power of love really can overcome anything.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, July 7
Interview for Bound by Passion

Tuesday, July 8
Interview at Shelf Full of Books
Book Featured at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

Wednesday, July 9
Guest Blogging at What Is That Book About

Thursday, July 10
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Babbling About Books and More

Tuesday, July 15
Interview at Butterfly-O-Meter Books

Tuesday, July 22
Book Review at One Life. One Story at a Time.

Thursday, July 24
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Monday, July 28
Book Review at Becky on Books

Tuesday, July 29
Guest Blogging at My Book Addiction and More

Wednesday, July 30
Book Review at Mom Loves 2 Read
Book Review at Book Club Sisters

Thursday, July 31
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hungry Mother Creek by Heather W. Cobham (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 Hungry Mother Creek!

Author Guest Post

Building A Resilient Character

Maya Sommers, the main character in my novel Hungry Mother Creek, is forced to deal with the trauma of Hurricane Katrina. She survives the initial physical danger but struggles to overcome the emotional impact of the hurricane and her husband’s death. She initially distracts herself with work and running and avoids talking about what has happened. Maya tries to convince her sister Laura that she is fine, but her panic attacks and obsessive thoughts about the past are evidence of her continued internal conflict.

As Hungry Mother Creek continues Maya becomes more resilient and begins to heal emotionally. She learns from her new relationships in Oriental N.C that talking about her deepest feelings and relying on others are crucial to recovering from her tragedy. She also begins to explore her spirituality to help make sense of the death and destruction she has witnessed. Maya is stuck when she avoids the past with distraction and denial. She begins to move forward with her life when she actively addresses her emotions and experiences related to Katrina and her husband’s death.

Research has shown that people who take action in the face of tragedy are more resilient and bounce back more quickly. Resilient people tend to have a good social support system and are good communicators. They are optimistic, persistent and determined, empathic and have a life purpose which motivates them to preserver. Having a strong spiritual life also contributes to resilience by helping make sense of the tragedy. Now that Maya has increased her resilience, she will cope more effectively when faced with future challenges.

What is your level of resilience? How would you fare if faced with tragedy similar to what Maya experienced? Building resilience takes a balanced approach, a combination of active engagement and solitary reenergizing. The following tips can help you increase your resilience:

• Let yourself experience strong emotions but realize when you may need to avoid them to continue functioning.

• Step forward and take action to deal with your problems but also step back when needed, to rest and recover.

• Spend time with loved ones to gain support and encouragement but also spend time alone to nurture yourself.

• Cultivate supportive relationships, self esteem, spirituality and optimism.

• Look for ways to help others in the midst of your own difficulties.

• Take care of yourself physically with regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep.

We all will face our own Hurricane Katrina’s, perhaps multiple times, so as we age it’s important to build resilience. This will allow us to rebound more quickly after a tragedy and be strong enough to help others through their pain and grief. In the midst of tragedy and challenge is the opportunity to reap new wisdom, skills and strength. The more resilient we are the more quickly we can identify the good that comes from a crisis and begin applying it to our life. Eventually Maya would have increased her resilience, but the hurricane and her husband’s death provided a strong outside force which imparted these lessons more quickly.

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” 
-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

About The Author

Heather Cobham grew up in North Carolina and now lives in Oriental with her husband and yellow lab. Heather has always loved to write and has written poetry and short stories since she was a child. Seven years ago she consciously created more time and space to write a novel and the publication of Hungry Mother Creek is a dream come true. Heather is a licensed clinical social worker and works as a counselor in a private practice in New Bern, N.C. She writes on Wednesdays, Fridays and the weekends and is currently working on the sequel to Hungry Mother Creek. Heather fights writer’s block by running, paddle boarding and kayaking.


Book Review

Hungry Mother Creek by Heather W. Cobham
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing / Star Online Publishers
Publication Date: March 9, 2014
Format: Paperback - 385 pages
             Kindle - 799 KB
ISBN: 978-1495936418
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Hungry Mother Creek

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:

To the outside world, it looks like Maya Somers lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, her husband, the bungalow they shared and her job. But inside Maya knows Katrina gave her the gift of a fresh start. She and her yellow lab, Doodle Bug, leave the destruction of the Gulf Coast for North Carolina and settle in Oriental, a quaint fishing village on the Pamlico Sound.

In her new home by the water, Maya begins to rebuild her life. She knows she needs to heal from her abusive marriage and the trauma of Hurricane Katrina but isn’t sure where to start. It isn’t long before teachers appear to help her: Hazel, her elderly but spirited neighbor who has secrets of her own, Travis, a handsome kayak guide to whom she immediately feels a strong attraction, Buster, a crusty old fisherman who always seems to show up just when she needs him, and Bay Witherspoon, the much younger wife of a wealthy attorney who becomes a close friend despite their initial differences. Maya finds the most profound help when she is welcomed into a women’s circle that meets on the banks of Hungry Mother Creek. Gathered with these women, Maya learns that becoming vulnerable and sharing her pain with others is the first step of her healing journey.

But what is the second step? Maya isn’t sure but with the help of her loyal yellow lab, her new friends and the peace of living by the water she stays the course. Ultimately Maya finds the healing journey to be messy, tangled and unpredictable, and the end result is nothing she could have ever imagined.

Book Excerpt:

Maya walked to her small kitchen area just behind the living room. She smiled to herself as she placed the casserole on the bottom shelf and wondered what type of condensed soup Hazel used to make this. She guessed it must be Cream of Mushroom, a southern staple she had used many times while helping her grandmother make Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

As she turned back towards the living room, Maya’s heart lurched when she saw Hazel was holding the decorative urn she thought had been discretely placed, but it must have caught Hazel’s eye. “Maya, this urn is beautiful. I love the yellows, blues and greens in the pattern. Surely you didn’t find it here in Oriental? It’s so well-made.”

Maya’s pulse quickened and she felt the color drain from her face. She stood frozen not prepared for this discussion and unsure of how much of the truth she wanted to share.

“Maya, are you okay? You look like you might faint.” Hazel placed the urn on the coffee table and hurried to Maya’s side. She placed her hand in the small of Maya’s back and led her over to the couch. Hazel’s hand was small, but very strong and her touch comforted Maya as she lowered herself down to the couch. She had a flash of insight that said she could trust Hazel and as she regained her composure, Maya decided to be truthful.

“Sorry if I scared you, Hazel. It’s just that this urn is much more than a decoration. It contains the ashes of Steven, my husband who died two years ago because of Hurricane Katrina.”

Well, it was a lot easier than Maya thought it would be, sharing this truth, although not the whole truth, with the first person outside her family. It actually wasn’t that hard talking about the ashes. The hard part would be answering the questions that may follow.

“Steven has a brother who wasn’t able to come to Mississippi after his death,” her words tumbled out, “and everything was in such a state of destruction and confusion I didn’t feel right about spreading the ashes in Mississippi. I’ve just kept them with me since then.”

As Maya was speaking, Hazel sat down beside her on the couch, her hands folded neatly in her lap as she listened. Maya and Hazel’s eyes met and Maya could see Hazel’s eyes were moist with emotion. She reached over and took one of Maya’s hands into hers.

“Oh, honey,” Hazel started, her southern accent drawing the syllables out. “I am so sorry. Losing your husband is one of the most difficult things to endure. My husband died when I was just 50 and it took me a while to make sense of my life, not having him in it. At least we’d already had 25 years of marriage and a son. You and Steven still had so much left to do together.” Hazel’s eyes filled again as she squeezed Maya’s hands.

Maya turned her head to look out the creek window. She was embarrassed by her lack of emotion and didn’t want Hazel to see her dry eyes. What was wrong with her? Why couldn’t she even muster up a couple of tears for Steven? When he was alive he made her cry easily. Now a lump did form in Maya’s throat.

She felt his grip tightening on her upper arm as he dragged her out into the parking lot of Sherlock’s, the pub a couple of miles from their house. When they were away from the entrance, he said, “Don’t you tell me I’ve had enough to drink ever again! Do you hear me? You embarrassed me in front of my friends.” He shot the words at her through clenched teeth and she physically recoiled, shrinking as his grip on her arm tightened. He yanked her arm for emphasis and continued, “I can’t help it if your lame ass is wasted after three or four beers but I’m fucking fine so leave me alone. If you can’t hang anymore then maybe you should just go home.”

He released her arm, turned and strode into the pub without looking back. Maya instinctively began rubbing her arm. The emotion she had been holding in her chest erupted and tears rolled down her cheeks. She knew she couldn’t go back inside and since Steven had the car keys, so began the walk home, her body weighted by shame.

Hazel squeezed her hand and Maya turned back to look at her, the urn prominent in her peripheral vision. “Well, at least you found his body and knew for sure what happened to him. I've heard of so many people who are still searching for their loved ones who most likely got washed out to sea.”

Maya’s face flushed knowing she wasn't being fully truthful, but she wasn't ready yet to talk about the real cause of Steven's death. After a few seconds of silence, she said, “Thanks for understanding. You’re the first person I’ve told outside my family.”

“Well, Maya, please know you can talk with me any time about Steven, and for extreme circumstances I can always make you another casserole.” Maya smiled, appreciating Hazel’s humor and the change of topic.

“I know I've already said this, but I’m so happy you decided to rent my boathouse. I grew up here with my mother and grandmother but have been alone for the past fifteen years so it feels good to have another woman on the property.”

“It feels good to be here. When I visited in April something just told me this was the place to come. I’m looking forward to meeting more people, getting a job and creating some happy memories here.” Maya smiled, feeling very comfortable sitting next to Hazel. Maybe one day she would tell Hazel the whole story.

“I better get on my way so you can heat up that casserole for dinner. Good luck with your job search and I’ll let you know if I hear of anything.” Hazel stood and walked to the door, Doodle Bug following at her heels.

Hazel’s hand rested on the doorknob just a millisecond longer than necessary. Maya waited for her to turn back and say something else. Hazel never turned but opened the door and stepped out into the humid early evening. The sound of cicadas filled the air.

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Hungry Mother Creek, author Heather W. Cobham weaves an emotional and inspirational tale that follows Maya Somer's journey of personal healing, and the rebuilding of her life after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Set in the picturesque coastal village of Oriental, North Carolina, the reader is easily drawn into Maya's emotional story as she struggles to come to terms with her abusive marriage, the death of her husband, and the rebuilding her life. Settling in the quaint little fishing village with her yellow Lab, Doodle Bug, Maya embarks on a personal journey of renewal with the help of a supportive group of people she meets. It is a journey that is an inspirational testament to the strength of the human spirit to survive, heal, and thrive after a traumatic experience.

Hungry Mother Creek is a beautifully written and emotionally compelling tale that pulls at the heartstrings and stirs the soul. The story delves into the difficult issue of abusive marriages, traumatic life experiences, loss and grief, new beginnings, and the renewal of a person's life through a strong bond of friendship relationships. The reader can't help but establish a connection with Maya and feel empathetic as her story unfolds, it invokes a gamut of emotions that will resonate long after the last sentence has been read.

I loved the wonderful friendships that Maya builds with the local group of women, their relationships are heartwarming and inspirational,  their understanding and support enables Maya to find peace and learn to move forward with her life.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful and  rich description of the North Carolina setting, the author easily transports the reader to this tranquil fishing village on the Pamlico Sound, that easily captures the sights and sounds and flavor of the townspeople.

Hungry Mother Creek is an uplifting story of self-discovery and life's renewal, and perfect for a lighthearted summer read.


Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Everyone who leaves a comment on the Hungry Mother Creek tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases a copy of Hungry Mother Creek by August 4 and sends their receipt to will receive 10 bonus entries!

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

July 21 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
July 23 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Review
July 24 – The Ultimate Late Bloomer – Q&A & Excerpt
July 28 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
July 29 – The Little Reading Cabin – Review 
July 30 – Ski-Wee’s Book Corner – Review & Guest Post
July 30 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review & Guest Post
July 31 – We Read to Live – Review & Q&A
July 31 – Book Reviews and More by Dee – Guest Post & Excerpt
August 1- Steph the Bookworm – Review
August 4 – Karen’s Korner – Review