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.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sparkle by Cara Alwill Leyba (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Cara Alwill Leyba, author of Sparkle!

Author Guest Post

The Business of Books: How To Stay Inspired as a Self-Published Writer

Writing and publishing your own books is not for the faint of heart. In fact, you really need to be as much of a businessperson as you do a creative person in order to deal with the “business of books” if you plan to independently publish your work. So how do you stay inspired if you’re bogged down with things like marketing, sales, and promotions?

Know When to Outsource. For me, it was really important to have a dedicated team to help me do the things I either simply couldn’t do, or didn’t have the time to do. For example, I knew that many self-published books are produced without proper editing or amazing covers, so those were two extremely important things for me. Choosing the right designer to do my cover was probably my biggest priority aside from actually writing my book. Hiring a great editor that was affordable and reliable was also extremely crucial to the success of my book. As much as we think we can do it all, sometimes we just can’t. Know when to hire out help when you need to, and shop around – it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Stop Comparing Yourself! This is hands-down the worst thing you can do as a writer. Everyone is going to have a different journey. When we get wrapped up in someone else’s story, we take energy away from our own projects. Keep your eyes on the road and channel your own creativity as much as possible. I also made sure that I wasn’t reading any other books when I wrote mine. I wanted to keep my voice authentic and not be distracted by anyone else.

Breathe. This is one of my favorite pieces of advice in writing, and in life. Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself. Take time out to enjoy the process. This is supposed to be fun! Be present in the moment, take in the experience, and be kind to yourself. The beauty of self-publishing is that you’re in control. Set timelines that feel attainable, and remember, this isn’t a race!

For more on Cara visit

About The Author

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

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

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

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

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

Want to learn how to sparkle? Join Cara's "Sparkling Start" workshop next month and kick off 2013 in glittering, shimmering style!

AUTHOR BLOG - The Champagne Diet
Cara Alwill Leyba ~ Sparkle ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $10 Amazon Gift Card

Contest Dates: Dec 17 - Jan 7

Everyone who leaves a comment on Cara Alwill Leyba ~ Sparkle ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Sparkle before January 7th and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Sparkle Trailer

Book Review

Sparkle by Cara Alwill Leyba
Publisher: Passionista Publiching
Publication Date: September 5, 2012
Format: Paperback - 136 pages / Kindle - 385 KB
ISBN: 0615675808
ASIN: B009D55Z2Q
Genre: Self-Help Guide


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:

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

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

Book Excerpt:

Taken from Chapter 2: Uncork Your Best Self

Chasing our passions and figuring out what makes us sparkle is crucial, but we can’t get there if we aren’t confident. And as women, we have mastered the art of being professionally critical of ourselves. From crash diets and plastic surgery to wrinkle creams and colonics, we’ve done it all and then some. We’ve read books on why men like bitches, and strived to be more of a bitch. We’ve read articles on why we should stop eating bread to lose weight, and we’ve stopped eating bread (and, God, wasn't that hard?) We’re constantly being told that we should look younger, be skinnier, have fuller lips, act a certain way to obtain the job we think we should have, and we’ve bought into it all. And frankly, I am over it.

It’s time to start celebrating ourselves! We’ve come a long way, baby. Women are now mothers, wives, girlfriends, professionals, executives, students, politicians, doctors, teachers – the list goes on. We’re beautiful, we’re strong, and we are empowered, and we have carved a pretty unique niche into this world. We’ve proved that we can do it all. Raise the children, run the household, and run the boardroom – sometimes all in the same day. In short, we’re pretty damn amazing.

So let’s stop obsessing over our flaws and start toasting to the deliciously authentic creatures we are. Let’s get our attitudes in check and start appreciating all the fabulous things we are blessed with. Let’s rock our best ass-ets and forget the rest. Sound good? Good. But first, we’ll need to change our mindset.

My Book Review:

Ladies, 2013 will be here before you know it! Isn't it about time that you put yourself first and start out the new year by letting your inner Sparkle shine?

In Sparkle: The Girl's Guide to Living a Deliciously Dazzling, Wildly Effervescent, Kick-Ass Life, life and wellness coach Cara Alwill Leyba waves her magical wand, uncorks a bottle of sparkling bubbly and shows us how to celebrate every single thing about ourselves, flaws and all!

This inspirational self-help guide book will motivate you to kick-start your new life journey to pursue your passions, live healthy, learn to love and embrace yourself for who you truly are, redefine what happiness means to you, transform your self-esteem and develop self-confidence, and start living life on your own terms!

Written in a real and easy conversational style that resembles a straight-forward conversation between girlfriends, Cara's effervescent and witty humor will guide you down the path to learn how to live your best life, and to embrace and celebrate the amazing woman that is you! With insightful advice and motivational tips on positive thinking, living in the moment, finding your passion, loving and accepting yourself, and learning to be happy, Sparkle is an inspirational guide that every woman should read and refer back to often!



  1. Replies
    1. Hi Samantha! Thank you for the opportunity to host this virtual book tour event. I love the cover too! I have a pink journal, but I so want one like this! :)

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Tori! Thank you for stopping by! You are so right, this is a very inspiring book. I have it on my Kindle and a paperback edition. I know I will be referring back to it often. :)