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.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Where The Heart Lies by Michelle Garren Flye (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Michelle Garren Flye, author of Where The Heart Lies!

Author Guest Post

Capturing Magic: Lightning Bugs in a Mason Jar
By: Michelle Garren Flye

If anyone were to ask me if I believed in magic, I'd have to say yes. I do. I see evidence of it every day. Of course, I think butterflies are magic. They're like flying flowers - what's not magic about that?

And speaking of flowers. This year a bunch of beautiful pink flowers sprang up where no pink flowers have ever been before in my yard. A friend told me they're impatiens and probably a seed landed there the previous year. The funny thing is, they popped up in the perfect spot, and I've fallen in love with them. I have every intention of planting more of them next year and hoping the magic persists. 

My children are magic. Don't believe me? You should see how they make candy disappear. Better than that is the way they banish my anger over the aforementioned theft of the candy. Plus, they grow. I'm not kidding. One day they're tiny babies, the next they're as tall as me. Then I turn my back and they're taller. How do they grow so much on a diet of sugar and saturated fat?

I'm always trying to capture that magic. It reminds me of summer evenings in my yard when I was a kid. My parents would sit in lawn chairs with green and white plastic woven over a cheap metal frame and my brothers and I would run around the yard, searching for the telltale blink of lightning bugs (also known as fireflies, if you're from the North).

"There's one!" We would all swoop to one side of the yard ...

"Over there!" ... the other side ...

... "Here!"

"I got one!" ...

"Look at mine!"

We would proudly display our lightning bugs in the Mason jars my mother must have kept for that purpose alone since she didn't can anything in my memory. I always thought if I caught enough of them, they'd make a sort of fairy light that I could keep in my room. But no matter how many I caught (usually not more than a dozen in one night), my fairy light never materialized. Instead, the little black bugs weren't as magical inside the jar as they were flying around free, zapping the air with their unexpected little beams of light every so often, and I always enjoyed them more when I let them go.

I sometimes feel that's what writing is like. I see the magic in the world around me, and I try to capture it on the page so I can share it. I believe in it, but by the time I translate it into words to share it, only part of it is there. But I convince myself that if I keep trying and believing, maybe I can transform those little black bugs in the Mason jar into the fairy light of my dreams. 

About The Author

Michelle Garren Flye is a mother, writer and editor based in coastal North Carolina. She obtained her degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992. Not liking the hours required of a journalist, she went on to obtain a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1997. When her first child was born in 2000, she packed her diplomas away and began a new life as a stay-at-home mom, which fortunately afforded her the opportunity to pursue her writing on a semi-regular basis.

Michelle has served in various capacities for several online and print literary endeavors, including Dark Recesses, edifice WRECKED, Horror Library, Butcher Shop Quartet, and Tattered Souls.

Michelle is the author of three romance novels, Where the Heart Lies (Carina Press 2012), Winter Solstice (Lyrical Press 2011) and Secrets of the Lotus (Lyrical Press 2010). Michelle also self-published a fiction book titled Weeds and Flowers for the Kindle in December 2011.

Michelle Garren Flye's Where The Heart Lies Virtual Book Tour Page On Goddess Fish Promotions

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Michelle will be awarding promotional postcards from Carina Press with 10% off coupons to one commenter at every stop, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card + a copy of Bartlett's Poems for Occasions, which inspired part of the book to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 

Be sure to leave a comment below with your name and e-mail to be entered! Follow the virtual tour stops, the more you comment, the better chances you have of winning! 

Book Review

Where The Heart Lies by Michelle Garren Flye
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: July 16, 2012
Format: eBook - 215 pages / Kindle - 441 KB / Nook - 718 KB
ISBN: 1426894074
ASIN: B00814M5NM
Genre: Contemporary Romance 

BUY THE BOOK: Where The Heart Lies

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 Goddess Fish Promotions.

Book Description:

All widowed Alicia Galloway has left of her war-hero husband are the flag that draped his coffin and his final wishes: to move to his hometown, take over the family bookstore and enjoy a simple, quiet life with their two small children. When she arrives, her husband’s best friend makes that new life anything but simple. How can she be so drawn to Liam Addison?

Liam only intended to help Alicia get settled. But one unexpected kiss awakens his long-held forbidden feelings. Soon, the town busybodies swoop in to warn Alicia away from him. Because no matter the man he’s become, he’ll never live down his reputation as town troublemaker and wolfish womanizer.

No one wants the war hero’s sweet widow and the supposedly former bad boy together. But the more everyone tries to keep them apart, the closer he and Alicia get. And the more determined Liam is to prove he’s a changed man. Will it be enough to convince Alicia to let a new love in her life?

Book Excerpt:

Liam crossed the yard in two strides, taking the hoe from her hands and turning the snake’s body over with its blade. He turned to her in amazement. “You killed it?”

Alicia nodded wordlessly, covered her face with her hands, and suddenly too weak to stand, fell to her knees in the grass. “Hey!” She heard his exclamation and the hoe hit the ground as he dropped it, then sank down next to her. “Hey, it’s okay. You did good, sweetheart.” His arms surrounded her and he pulled her first against him, then into his lap, stroking her hair and back, his hands warmer than the sun’s rays against her skin.

The approval in his voice brought tears to her eyes at the same time that his caresses tingled deliciously. She responded without thinking, putting her arms around his neck and then, because she wanted nothing more than to kiss this man who meant so much to her, she turned to him, finding his lips easily, feeling his body freeze for a moment then give in to the kiss, the wonderful, desire-fulfilling kiss that she’d longed for…

My Book Review:

Small town life filled with opinions and secrets ... a military widow and a best friend ... unrequited and forbidden love ... feelings of guilt ... but a second chance at love ...

She remembered staring at the flag, thinking about its thirteen symbolic folds....and the sixth fold is for where the heart lies...

Alicia Galloway is a war widow with two small children. Before her husband Ty died in combat in Afghanistan, they had planned to move back to his hometown of Hillsborough, NC to take over his father's bookstore. Several months after her husband's death, Alicia moves her family to his hometown in order to fulfill the dream they once shared.

Liam Addison is Ty's best friend and college physics professor. He has a lot of guilt over an incident that happened when they were teenagers, and he also holds a major secret that Ty didn't know about. With a reputation as a ladies man and a past that haunts him, the towns people warn Alicia to stay away from Liam.

Despite the small town gossip and warnings, Alicia and Liam start a friendship that blossoms into attraction, and while they try to deny their mutual attraction, the pull to have something more is daunting. Will guilt, secrets and small town interference stand in Alicia and Liam's way of having a second chance at love, or will their relationship prevail despite the odds stacked against them?

Where The Heart Lies is a poignant story of loss, grief, secrets, love, redemption and second chances. Written in the third person narrative, author Michelle Garren Flye draws the reader into the emotional story of Alicia and Liam. Each are dealing with personal issues in their lives, but a mutual attraction for each other draws them together despite the warnings from their nosy small town neighbors.

I really enjoyed following Alicia's journey of dealing with the loss and grief of her husband and having the courage to start a new life for herself and her children. It can't be easy to let go of the trepidation of starting over, especially when she feel's guilty for being alive while her husband's life is over, and also when it comes to starting potential new relationships.

I really felt for Liam, he's gotten a bad rap from his neighbors, people are human and make mistakes, and it seems like the towns people just wouldn't let go of Liam's past and embrace the man that he has become. Small town life isn't easy when everyone knows your business and doesn't think twice to pass judgment.

With a cast of secondary characters who are realistic and play a key role in the storyline; engaging dialogue and interactions; and an emotional storyline that deals with a variety of personal and societal issues; Where The Heart Lies is a compelling and heartwarming story that will pull at your heartstrings.

Where The Heart Lies is a wonderful romance story about the intricacies of relationships. The drama, secrets, and unexpected twists and turns will keep you engaged; while the blossoming of Alicia and Liam's relationship adds a nice romantic touch that will make you believe in love and second chances.



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host the virtual book tour event.

  2. Thanks so much for having me here today! I'll stop by as often as I can in case anyone has a question or comment. :)

    1. Hi Michelle! I loved reading Where The Heart Lies, it is a wonderful story. Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host your virtual book tour event. :)

    2. Well, you're welcome! I love your beautiful blog, btw! Feels homey to me, reminds me of my NC coast.

    3. I have a second home in Calabash, NC ... there's nothing better than being able to go down there on vacation every now and then. :)

  3. I always wanted to catch lightning bugs, but I never saw any where I live! Great story.


    1. I never tried catching the fireflies, but I did enjoy watching them fly around. This is a wonderful story, I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read and review it. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. :)

    2. Thank you, Vitajex. I'm so sorry you've never seen lightning bugs. They are really magical. I miss them now that it's gotten cold again.

  4. Great review, thank you.


    1. Thank you very much for your kind comment and for stopping by today! :)

  5. There is magic everywhere you care to look. I'm a believer.