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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Somewhere Between Black and White by Shelly Hickman (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 Somewhere Between Black and White by author Shelly Hickman!

Author Guest Post

Cry Baby

After coming up with various topics for my blog tour, I was strongly reminded of why I do not maintain a blog.

I can’t take the pressure!

I’ve been trying to come up with a subject that fits with the theme I’ve chosen, the one related to Somewhere Between Black and White, and that is to be a little more aware of how we make assumptions about each other. However, at this point it’s starting to feel like I’m beating a dead horse. I’m not even sure this post will be scheduled for the end of the tour or the beginning, but it’s the last one I’ve written.

So because I can think of nothing else that won’t make readers think, “Good Lord! How long is she going to go on about this,” I’m going to talk about the fact that I’m an easy weeper.

It’s not something I’m proud of, and I have no idea how I got this way. I probably inherited it from my mom because she’s an easy weeper, too. First of all, I’m a huge sympathy crier. I guess that’s not all that uncommon. I’ve met other sympathy criers. I hate being a sympathy crier because it makes me come off as unfeeling. You’re probably going, “Huh?” The reason I say that is when I see someone crying and I feel those stupid tears coming on, whether they’re from joy or sadness, I try to think about other things that will stop them, and it probably seems like I don’t care.

I cry about happy things too easily. There’s this Bruno Mars song I love. It’s called “Marry You.” Anyway, there’s the sweetest flash mob video on YouTube in which the guy uses that song to propose to his love. Don’t ask me why, but it makes me cry every time I watch it. And now, I can’t even listen to that damn song without crying. I put it on my iPod and was singing to it on my way to work the other day, and I couldn’t even get the words out. If you’ve never heard it, listen to it sometime. It is the last song in the world that should make a person cry. Pathetic!

Scenes in movies I’ve watched a thousand times make me cry. Rudy, Father of the Bride, every Disney movie ever made, including Aladdin. The Dancing Queen sequence in Mama Mia! I’m sorry, but that’s just unacceptable. Dancing Queen? If I remember right, I think I even cried at the end of Oz, the Great and Powerful. And to make matters worse, my husband always has to point it out.

“Are you crying?”


I don’t like being a cry baby. It’s highly embarrassing and inconvenient. Anyway, that was my little confession. Any other easy weepers out there? Maybe we could form a support group.

About The Author

Living in Las Vegas since she was two, Shelly Hickman has witnessed many changes in the city over the years. She graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Art in 1990, and in her early twenties worked as an illustrator for a contractor for the Nevada Test Site. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer applications and multimedia at a middle school in Las Vegas. She loves to write about people, examining their flaws, their humor, spirituality, and personal growth. Shelly lives with her husband, two children, and their dog, Frankie.

Somewhere Between Black and White by Shelly Hickman ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Book Review

Somewhere Between Black and White by Shelly Hickman
Publisher: Independent Self-Publishing
Publication Date: December 27, 2012
Format: eBook - 164 pages / Kindle - 356 KB / Nook - 657 KB
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Somewhere Between Black and White

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:

Romance, humor, family drama, with a touch of Buddhism. Sound interesting?

When approaching life's problems, Sophie sees in black and white. That is, when they're someone else's problems. So when it comes to her sister, Sophie is sure she has all the answers, and offers them without hesitation. If only her sister would listen.

Then, through a series of chance encounters, she meets Sam, who is witty, kind, and downright unflappable. Sophie has the overwhelming sense that she's known him before, and as a relationship builds between them, odd visions invade her mind. Though she tries to dismiss them, their persistence will not allow it.

As someone who is quick to judge others, she is intrigued by Sam's ability to accept people as they are. She begins to see him as a role model, but try as she may, his accepting nature is difficult to emulate.

Will Sophie ever be able to put her hasty judgments aside and realize not every problem has a simple solution?

Book Excerpt:

Sophie didn’t hear a word Lisa said, but tried her best to look Sam’s way without him noticing. He gave her a wave.

“Oh my God!” she repeated, having a horrifying realization. “Was he sitting there while I was singing?”

“I’m not sure. I think he got here about halfway through. Why do you keep asking about him?”

Sam got up from his seat and started making his way toward them.

“Shit! He’s coming over here.”

“Sophie, what is your problem?”

Sophie’s heartbeat went into overdrive. Was she having a cardiac arrest? No, that wasn’t right. That’s when you have no heartbeat.

“Hi,” he said, standing directly in front Sophie.

“Hi there,” Lisa replied. “I’m sorry—I don’t remember your name.”

“It’s Sam,” he answered, introducing himself to Lisa and her husband. “You put on a pretty good show up there, Sophie.”

She put her elbow on the table and covered her eyes. “Thanks.”

“Have a seat.” Lisa motioned to the spot across from Sophie that Tim had vacated.

“Thanks. Did Sophie tell you how we seem to keep bumping into each other?”

“No, she didn’t.” Lisa eyed Sophie and playfully flipped her red hair.

“She probably thinks I’m stalking her,” he joked.

“No, I don’t think that,” Sophie replied, but now that he said it, she began to wonder.

“How many times have you guys run into each other?” Jerry asked.

“This makes three?” Sophie looked at Sam.

“Must be fate,” was Sam's response.

“Sophie, you’re blushing!” Lisa said.

“No, I’m not! Lisa said you teach at our school,” Sophie eagerly changed the subject. “She’s not serious, is she?” She hadn’t intended for her question to sound as rude as it did. “I just meant it’s hugely weird, is all.”

“No, no . . . it’s true,” he answered.

The upbeat music had stopped and patrons were slow dancing.

“Hey, come dance with me, kiddo,” Jerry offered, taking Lisa’s hand to walk her to the floor. Sophie and Sam sat in silence for a few moments, watching the two of them chatter and laugh.

She felt Sam’s eyes shift to her, yet didn’t understand why she was hesitant to turn his way. Maybe the alcohol she’d consumed would only intensify the effect he had on her the times before.

“Do you . . .” he began. “Do you want to dance?”

“. . . Okay.”

She walked ahead of him, tripping over a chair leg as she went. Really? He probably thought she was sloshed. When they reached the dance floor, they fumbled with positioning of their hands before she finally placed hers on his shoulders. Why was that so clumsy? Where else were their hands supposed to go? But then he took one of her hands and held it in his. She thought it kind of sweet.

As he pulled her in just a bit, careful not to be presumptuous, she had to stifle a giggle. A giggle! She was suddenly back in the sixth grade, dancing with her first real crush, nursing that sweet commotion going on in her stomach.

For a short while they watched the other couples, which was all the more awkward because the distance between them demanded that they look at one another. She couldn’t deny that she was strangely drawn to him, but she wished she had never agreed to dance. This whole thing was painfully unsettling, but in a good way.

Finally, she met his eyes. Why did she feel as if it would be the most natural thing in the world to kiss him?

“I know you, don’t I?” he said, more as a statement than a question. Before she had a chance to respond, he shook his head. “Agh, I told myself I wasn’t going to say that. The line is so overplayed.”

“You’re forgiven,” she replied. “But only because it feels like I know you, too.”

“Really?” He sighed with relief. “I was trying to think of any words but those. I wanted to say it the second time I saw you, but, well. . . .”

She said nothing, but instead found herself preoccupied with the thick, dark hair that curled just above his ear, staring so long that the world beyond became a blur of motion and light. The song that played had long been one of her favorites, but tonight the melody hung hauntingly in her ears. Her gaze wandered to his shoulder, where her hand seemed to meld into his soft cotton shirt. She no longer beheld him in his entirety, but instead registered glimpses that were inexplicably calming. His jawline with just a hint of stubble, the curve of his mouth as he spoke, the kindness in his eyes.

She blinked, trying to clear her head. How much have I had to drink anyway?

My Book Review:

Somewhere Between Black and White is an enjoyable story that delves into the dynamics of family, romantic relationships and life in general. Written in the third person narrative and set in Las Vegas, author Shelly Hickman weaves a fun tale that follows computer teacher Sophie Cook as she learns that life isn't always black and white, that it also has a softer shade of gray.

Sophie is very opinionated and quick to judge people and situations, she views life as either black or white. At first glance she comes off very strong, abrupt and abrasive when dealing with her older sister Evelyn and brother-in-law Christian. Evelyn has lupus, and Sophie is very concerned for her sister because Christian has a mood disorder that makes him disconnected from everyone and everything in life, rendering him unable to help take care of Evelyn, which makes Sophie totally nuts. But Sophie's in for a lesson in life when she meets fellow teacher Sam Collins. As Sophie and Sam's romantic relationship develops, this strong and steady man teaches Sophie that life isn't always black and white, that sometimes life and its situations fall within a gray area.

I really enjoyed reading this story, it provides a healthy dose of reality when the story delves into matters involving the dynamics of family and romantic relationships and life situations, but it also has a humorous side like when Sophie is dealing with her troublesome students in the classroom, and it also has a sweet romantic love story between Sophie and Sam.

I have to admit that at first I was not a fan of Sophie. I didn't like her strong and overbearing personality, especially in her dealings with Evelyn and Christian. But when Sophie meets Sam and their relationship develops, I like the change in Sophie, she becomes a more softer and accepting person. I love Sam, he's a gentle, kind and accepting man that simply melted my heart. I also admired Evelyn and Christian's marriage, they both have their struggles in life, but the love and dedication that they have for each other keeps them strong and holding on. The only thing that I did not enjoy was the flashbacks that was interwoven throughout the story, they just didn't make sense and were an unnecessary distraction. But overall, if you are looking for a heartwarming and entertaining story that has a sweet romance and thoughtful life message included, then Somewhere Between Black and White would be a perfect light summer beach read.


Somewhere Between Black and White - Trailer

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Contest Dates: July 2-22, 2013

Everyone who leaves a comment on Somewhere Between Black and White by Shelly Hickman ~ 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 Somewhere Between Black and White before July 22 and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

July 2- The YA Bookshelf – Novel Spotlight
July 3 - Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Q&A
July 5 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
July 9 – Curling Up With a Good Book – Q&A
July 10- Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
July 11- Everything Books & Authors – Excerpt
July 15 – Defining Women’s Evolution in Discovery Blog – Review & Excerpt
July 16 – Bite My Book – Q&A
July 17 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
July 18 – Regina May Ross – Review & Guest Post
July 19 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
July 22- Wise Words – Guest Post


  1. Thank you so much for having me, Kathleen!

    1. Hi Shelly! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)

  2. So glad to have you on the tour!

    1. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  3. Shelly, the older I get, the easier I cry. My emotions--all of them--are always so close to the surface. I agree that it can be a real pain! My sons love to point out every time I cry about stuff on TV, too. "Mom, are you crying?!" They always say it like it's the worst, most ridiculous thing in the world. But the joke's on them, because I've noticed they inherited that trait from me. I'm just nice enough not to point it out every time I see them get teary.

    1. Haha! I love it, Brea. I'm sure the older they get, you won't go so easy on them. If they're lucky, they'll outgrow it.

  4. I'm a big cry baby too! Thanks so much for this confession, Shelly. It's so nice to know I'm not the only one. I can be at a wedding, graduation, etc. and even if I barely know the people, I'll cry! Music, TV shows, movies, even commercials can easily start the flow for me too. I know what you mean about trying to think of something else to stop the tears but I'm sure it would never seem that you don't care. You come across as very caring - especially now that we all know what a big softy you are! ;-)

    1. I'd like to blame on hormonal pre-menopause, but I've pretty much always been this way. Cry babies unite! ;)

  5. Thank you everyone for stopping by and visiting with Shelly today. :)