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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Unexpecting by Lori Verni-Fogarsi (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Lori Verni-Fogarsi, author of Unexpecting!

Author Guest Post

I'm originally a native New Yorker. And while I don't generally believe in stereotypes, I'll be the first to admit that I do have that "shoot from the hip" quality that is a trait commonly seen with New Yorkers, although I now live in North Carolina.

Anyhow, my two kids and two step kids will be the first to tell you that I definitely do "tell it like it is," even if I do sometimes provide a bit more shock value than they may have expected. After all, that is the "value" of shocking someone, isn't it? The unexpected aspect?

With them currently being 12, 15, 18, and 20, they have each experienced various age-appropriate versions of me talking about how careful they should be when considering sharing their bodies, and how should they choose not to accept my advice, they need to know that it will not be me who ends up raising a baby I didn't sign up for. Harsh? Maybe. But my hope is that neither my life nor theirs will be the irrevocably affected by a bad choice made on one steamy summer night.

So when I came up with the idea of Unexpecting, a story in which the main character does end up raising a baby she didn't "sign up for," it involved a lot of soul searching on my part. Despite my tough exterior stance on this, how would I really feel over the course of time? Would my resentment honestly prevent me from warming up to a sweet, innocent baby? Or would I end up feeling just as strongly about him as I did when my own kids were babies? Or maybe I would feel somewhere in between?

Writing Unexpecting really challenged me to examine myself on a deeper level and explore who I am, who I think I might be in the future, and how I might handle crises with my children or husband, should they ever come up. In fact, there were times when the emotional struggles became so difficult, I had to set aside writing for weeks at a time.

In the end? I'm not sure whether in real life I myself would handle things exactly the way the main character in the story did, but it sure was fun exploring it along the way! I very much look forward to hearing what readers think, and whether they think they would handle things the same way, differently, or somewhere in between!

Thank you for hosting me on your blog! I hope everyone enjoyed the above perspective and I look forward to getting to know you and your readers more in their comments!

About The Author

Lori Verni-Fogarsi has been an author, speaker, and small business consultant since 1995. She has been featured in major media including Lifetime Women's Network, the My Carolina Today Show, and Boston Globe Forums Live.

Her public speaking has occurred at many prestigious venues including North Carolina State University, Nassau Community College, and many more.

She has received two awards for her novel, Momnesia, and her nonfiction, Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogs, continues to be one of the most highly recommended in its genre since 2005.

Lori is a happy married mom of two, step mom of two more, and has two cats, both rotten. Originally a native New Yorker, she now divides her time between Raleigh, NC, and Lake Gaston, VA.

She is very excited about the release of Unexpecting, and looks forward to her book tour, interviews, launch parties, and other festivities!

Unexpecting by Lori Verni-Fogarsi ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Book Review

Unexpecting by Lori Verni-Fogarsi
Publisher: Brickstone Publishing
Publication Date: March 14, 2013
Format: Paperback - 272 pages / Kindle - 507 KB 
ISBN: 0984028439
Genre: Chick Lit / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Unexpecting

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:

Shelley and David are a couple of almost-empty-nesters preparing to embark on the next stage of their life. They've just ordered white furniture and are planning the vacation they've waited their entire lives to take.

Their lives are catapulted in a completely different direction when Alexandra, seventeen and pregnant, shows up on their doorstep and announces that she's the daughter they never knew they had! Their life becomes filled with dilemmas as they add not only another child, but also a baby to a household that was just about to become serene.

Shelley feels like she no longer fits in anywhere and to top it off, having two teenaged girls suddenly plunged into being sisters and school mates is not exactly warm and fuzzy. When Alexandra's behavior becomes erratic, the couple is faced with even tougher decisions to make.

Hold on for an emotional yet witty ride as you join this family of characters in a story of love, loyalty, heartbreak, and humor that will stay with you long after you turn the last page!

Book Excerpt:

Alexandra’s Perspective (Chapter 5)

Alexandra sat in her room with the curtains drawn, the only light coming from the flicker of the small, ancient, black and white TV she’d brought from her mom’s house. It was ridiculous, the stupid thing, with tin foil scrunched around the old-fashioned rabbit ears that were not removable even though it was hooked up to cable and they weren’t doing anything.

I should at least take off the tin foil, she thought. But she was so exhausted. And the noise might wake up Patrick who was sleeping right there in the bassinet. It seemed like he never slept and she’d gotten to the point where she’d do anything to avoid waking him up during the tiny breaks from his constant needs.

It had been a week since he was born and honestly, she felt like crap. Nothing was what she’d expected. Not that she had any idea what to expect once her mom died. But before that, she was excited about the baby and her mom was too.

They had cleaned out and painted the extra room in the apartment they lived in, and although his room was small, at least it was a separate room. She remembered laughing with her mom when they were painting together; they’d both turned at the same time and gotten paint in each other’s hair. Eyes filling with tears at the memory, Alexandra’s stomach felt as if it were being pulled downward by the weight of missing her mother.

Lying back on the bed, ever so slowly in her effort to be as quiet as possible, Alexandra heard the distant sounds of people talking and laughing. It sounded like it was coming from the driveway and it took her a moment to remember that even though her room was so dark, it was the middle of the day.

With a pang of regret, she recalled sitting at the breakfast table that morning when Rose mentioned that she and a friend were going to the mall and asked if anyone else wanted to go. Grace had squealed, “Oh yeeeah!” in that annoying, cheerleader-type voice of hers and immediately started texting her friends. Rose, who was looking for something in the pantry threw over her shoulder, “What about you?” and Alexandra had mumbled “No thanks.”

Who were they kidding anyway? She knew they were only including her because they felt obligated to, and besides, what would she do at the mall with no money, still wearing maternity clothes, and no friend to invite?

Tears threatening at the back of her eyes, she rolled onto her side and was reminded of yet another thing in her miserable life: her stomach. It still felt almost as huge as when Patrick was still in there. She couldn’t believe it! She knew it wouldn’t be quite as flat and toned as it was before she was pregnant, but she was completely unprepared for it to still be very round in shape and all mushy, like a deflated balloon. He was a week old and she still couldn’t even remotely consider putting on her pre-pregnancy clothes, or even ones she’d worn in the early months.

With tears streaming steadily now, the only thing she could hear was the sound of Patrick’s breathing. In, out. In, out. Every now and then he would make a little sound that brought a bolt of fear to her heart, thinking that he was waking up. It seemed like he was always up. And not only that, but it seemed like he needed something every minute when he was up.

She knew babies cried a lot and you had to change their diaper and stuff. She’d read books and even took that stupid new mom class that Shelley had signed her up for at the hospital. But still, it was all just so different than she’d imagined. Whenever she had pictured what it would be like, she’d visualized pushing an adorable toddler in a swing at the playground, or even a cute infant, crawling around the living room like you see on diaper commercials. But all Patrick did was sleep, eat, poop, and cry. Not much else. He didn’t even smile yet but he sure made it known that he wanted to be carried around, like, all the time.

And Shelley wasn’t much help either. Sure, she watched Patrick for a couple of hours every day and would make suggestions like why doesn’t she take Tiny for a walk or call her old friend Amy from her mom’s neighborhood and invite her over. Yeah, right. As if she would want to spend her only free time exercising when she was already so tired, or would want to invite an old friend over when she looked like this! She knew Shelley was just trying to be nice but couldn’t help feeling like everything would have been so much better if her real mom were there.

In her mind’s eye, she always felt normal—not exhausted—when visualizing what it would have been like to have Patrick with her mom around. Her mom wouldn’t act like it was mainly Alexandra’s job to take care of him; he would have been their baby. And her mom wouldn’t have that underlying attitude of disapproval like everyone had around here. She’d had Alexandra as a single woman after all, so it wasn’t such a big deal to her like it was to the Morsonys.

Alexandra struggled to deny the truth that lurked in her subconscious: That her mom had, in fact, been very upset about her getting pregnant. That she’d spent weeks encouraging Alexandra to “really, seriously think about what you want to do,” and talked about how much it was going to change her life. She’d never come right out and said that Alexandra should have an abortion, but she had made it clear that it was an option to be considered, and had talked extensively about how hard it would be to have a baby while still in high school, and what about college, and all that crap that moms say.

Nonetheless, somehow Alexandra just knew that everything would have been better with her mom around. And besides, if her mom didn’t help her it would be because she was at work. Not like Shelley who didn’t even work but still expected Alexandra to, like, wash bottles, and do laundry and stuff.

There was a light knock at her bedroom door and Alexandra’s head whipped around to see if it woke Patrick. He was still asleep. Thank God! She tiptoed to the door, wiping her tears quickly with her index fingers before cracking it open. It was Shelley.

She whispered, “I’m taking Tiny for a little walk. You want to come?”

“No thanks.”

“Are you sure? David’s home so he can keep an ear out for Patrick. It might be nice to get outside a bit.”

Alexandra noted the look of hopefulness in Shelley’s face and the sound of encouragement in her tone. “No thanks,” she replied dully.

“Oh. Okay then. We’ll see you later.” Shelley turned to walk back downstairs and Alexandra felt a stab of… something. Happiness that she’d made Shelley sad? Regret that she’d made her sad? She didn’t know what she felt but she did know that it kind of hurt, either way.

My Book Review:

Shelley and David Morsony are relishing the day that they will be empty-nesters. With three children in college and one a senior in high school, they're planning the next stage of their married life. But life sometimes has a funny way of unexpectedly throwing curve balls that will ultimately change their plans.

Unexpecting is a poignant story about family, heartbreak, forgiveness and unconditional love. Author Lori Verni-Forgasi weaves a realistic tale written in the third person narrative that documents the changes, challenges, responsibilities and obligations that occur in a blended family when a new and unexpected family member comes into their lives.

Set in Spring Valley, North Carolina, the reader follows along with the trials and tribulations that Shelley and David Morsony along with their children Michael (24), Russell (22), Rose (19) and Grace (17) face when Alexandra Johansen (17) shows up on their doorstep eight months pregnant and claiming to be David's daughter. This emotional tale of family drama, turmoil and emotional baggage is mainly told from the perspective of Shelley, but does include the perspectives of David and Alexandra, which provides the reader with a view into the family's complexities as they face and overcome the troubling issues of teen pregnancy and substance abuse that Alexandra brought into their already blended family. The story has a way of captivating the reader, it takes you on a palpable roller coaster ride where you feel the full gamut of emotions, you can't help but become emotionally invested in the Morsony family's story.

With a realistic cast of characters who are complex and flawed; witty dialogue and dramatic interactions; and a powerful storyline about a family that could be yours or mine; Unexpecting is a compelling story that will tug at your heartstrings and stay with you for a long time.

Unexpecting is an amazing story that captures the gritty, real-life portrayal of a family's emotional journey to overcome life's challenges with unconditional love.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

There are three contest giveaways for you to enter! Good luck!

Win (1) Kindle or Paperback Copy of Momnesia

Contest Dates: April 30 - May 7

Use the Rafflecopter Entry Form to enter the contest giveaway!

Note: The winner can choose either (1) Kindle eBook or (1) Paperback format of Momnesia. The paperback format is only available in the Continental US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Author Lori Verni-Fogarsi's Giant Giveaway

Win A $100 Amazon Gift Card or Kindle Fire

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Contest Dates: April 29 - May 13

Everyone who leaves a comment on Unexpecting by Lori Verni-Fogarsi Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Unexpecting before May 13 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Tour Participants

April 29 – Lavender & Camomile Press – Excerpt
April 29 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
April 30 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
May 1 – Mrs. Mommy Booknerd Book Reviews – Q&A & Excerpt
May 2 – Trashionista – Review, Guest Post & Q&A
May 3 – Notes from a Rumbly Cottage – Review
May 6 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Q&A
May 6 – The Book Bag – Review & Excerpt
May 7- The Book Bag – Guest Post
May 8 – Create on the Side – Q&A
May 9 – A Blue Million Books – Q&A & Excerpt
May 10 – Karma For Life Chick – Review
May 13 – Chick Lit Plus – Review


  1. Replies
    1. This was a wonderful book! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  2. Wow! I am so honored that you gave such a lovely review to my book! I hope your visitors enjoy learning about it and that they'll enjoy it if they read it too. Good luck with the giveaways everyone!

    1. Hi Lori! Unexpecting is a wonderful book, it deserves glowing reviews. Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)

  3. Have not yet read "Unexpecting" but I do want to. Our 16 yr old did have a daughter (who is now 21). Altho, I did not want to raise another child, we let our daughter make the decision to keep or to put up for adoption. She chose to keep her baby (& yes, Grandpa & I did assume primary care for a couple of years), and oh, how much joy granddaughter has given us. Daughter turned out to be a great mother and granddaughter is a fine young woman.

    donna (dot) durnell (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

    1. Hi Donna! Thank you for stopping by and visiting with Lori and sharing your story. :)

    2. Oooh, Donna, I do hope you'll read "Unexpecting" and I look forward to hearing your feedback about the story, given that you experienced a similar situation!

  4. Can't wait to read this book!

    1. Hi Lisamarie! You'll love the book! Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)