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 15, 2014

Luck of the Draw by Cheri Allan (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Luck of the Draw by Author Cheri Allan!

Author Guest Post

Chairs, Yard Sales And The Tales They Tell

I have a confession. I collect chairs. Maybe it’s because, in this busy life, I have this subconscious and perpetual desire to sit down for a minute. In our early years of marriage, I could not pass a yard sale without picking up a chair that I wanted to paint or re-cane for the front porch I did not yet have. And while I was on the hunt for a bargain (and a place to relax) my Dearest Husband, it turns out, was On a Mission. 

I didn’t realize this right away. For a long time I simply questioned my beloved’s negotiating skills and taste. (You paid what for that?) 

It wasn’t until much later I realized the truth. 

DH was late coming home one night, because he’d seen an advertisement for an old boat trailer. (We had no boat, mind you.) The older gentleman he met with needed to clean out his yard. You see, his wife had passed away some months before, and the grown kids were pressing him to move out of the old homestead he could no longer care for. So DH talked with the man and wandered around his yard and listened to stories about his late wife and living at the farm and how they used to go up to the lake just the two of them... 

And we now have a boat trailer in our back lot. 

There was the woman who was throwing out old hand saws at the dump. My husband struck up a conversation. Later that day, we arrived at her house, and I watched as DH stood in her cramped basement as she reminisced about the days when her father and uncle used to take the scythes down to the old hotel by the lake to keep the rolling lawns trim for the weekenders from Rhode Island and Connecticut. The hotel was long gone. The rolling lawns had reverted back to forest, and the scythes hung, dirty and unused by the furnace she struggled to keep filled with heating oil… So now we have scythes in our garage. 

We have a treadle sewing machine, duplicate power tools and old-time fire extinguishers, and I’ve stopped asking why, because I realize it’s not about the things it’s about giving real people a chance to tell their stories. The man who suffered a stroke and couldn’t work his job on the mountain anymore? An ice saw. The woman whose father had been a wood-shop teacher for many years? Power tools. The family whose elderly aunt worked as a seamstress and telephone operator? Her old Singer. 

I love that the stories of these people aren’t forgotten, and that’s true for Kate, my heroine, in Luck of the Draw. She is drawn to the stories of old things and loves to infuse them with new life from mismatched chairs to an old ice box, and she’s hoping to work some of that same magic on herself. But, at 31 years-old, Kate is at a crossroads. She’s searching for direction and purpose at a time when life feels like it’s crumbling around her. 

You see, Kate’s soon-to-be EX-husband dies suddenly, and she is stuck in the emotional in-between of grieving for a man she’d intended to divorce. I have a scene in the book where she must decide to take off her wedding ring again, and it occurred to me as I wrote it that it didn’t matter what the ring looked like. The real story was in the emotion, both happy and regret-filled, that that single ring represented. 

As readers, it’s not the stories we care about so much as the emotions they carry with them, isn’t it? 

So, when my husband arrives home with another ‘treasure’ crammed into the back of the car, I ask him the story… because stories are how we share the emotions of our lives. And what better place to sit, retell and remember them than an old rocking chair on my front porch? 

Do you have a treasured item with its own story? What are the emotions it evokes? Share!

About The Author

Cheri Allan lives in a charming fixer-upper in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two children, one dog, four cats and an excessive amount of optimism. She’s a firm believer in do-it-yourself, new beginnings and happily-ever-afters, so after years of wearing suits, she’s grateful to finally put her English degree to good use writing romance. When not writing, you might find her whizzing down the slopes of a nearby mountain or inadvertently killing perennials in her garden.

Cheri loves to hear from readers! E-mail her at, friend her at, or visit her website and blog at Luck of the Draw, Book 1 in the Betting on Romance series is available now through Amazon and Smashwords.


Book Review

Luck of the Draw by Cheri Allan
Book 1: Betting On Romance Series
Publication Date: August 9, 2014
Format: Paperback - 286 pages
             Kindle - 3123 KB
             Nook - 735 KB
ISBN: 978-0990481515
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Luck of the Draw

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 Goddess Fish Promotions.

Book Description:

If only life had a refresh button...

Kate Mitchell never planned to be a 31 year-old widowed single mom, but when her soon-to-be-EX husband up and dies, her dreams of finishing college and starting over are thrown in the air like a game of 52 pick-up. When she’s given a leave of absence from work and told to “quit or recommit,” Kate retreats to idyllic Sugar Falls, New Hampshire, to figure out whether she can discover her passion and pay the bills. Cue the fresh air, summer sunshine and one sexy local contractor.

Tall, dark, and handy…

Volunteer fireman and all-around hunky guy in a toolbelt, Jim Pearson has sworn off complicated women with messy baggage. They cling to his nice-guy stability and skills with a power saw just long enough to straighten out their lives and move on… but then he meets the cute single mom staying at Grams’ lake house for the summer.

While a sizzling attraction draws them together, Jim's distrust of complicated women and Kate's incredibly complicated life threaten to pull them apart. But forces beyond their control—match-making grandmothers, the lazy backdrop of summer, and their own reckoning with the past—conspire to make them risk it all... and bet on love.

Book Excerpt:

She could hear their breathing in the quiet room, the air a bit close from the heat of the day. She smiled.

He grimaced.

“Kate, I—”

She put her finger to his lips. “Please, don’t. I know this must seem crazy. We hardly know each other, but… I don’t want to analyze it. Not now.”

She didn’t want to talk. Didn’t want to admit her behavior was so far removed from her usual comfort zone it was like observing someone else. But Jim made her feel safe in a way she couldn’t put her finger on. Safe… and alive. No, that wasn’t right. He made her feel… hopeful. There was something about his eyes. So gentle, so kind. When she looked into his eyes, all the sad, lonely years melted away, and her heart felt light again, like a butterfly in her breast. She hadn’t felt that feeling in so very, very long. She couldn’t bear to turn it away. Not now. Not yet.

He nodded, his gaze boring into hers as he grasped her hand and pressed a kiss to her palm. His thumb brushed over her fingers as he looked at her hand. “You took off your ring,” he whispered.

She nodded, and he brought her hand to his lips again, looked her in the eyes. “Tell me what you want,” he said.

“For you to,” she managed a shaky breath, “do that again?”

He grinned against her wrist…

My Book Review:

Luck of the Draw is a wonderful story about self-discovery, finding your passion in life, and an unexpected second chance romance.

In the first book of the Betting On Romance series, author Cheri Allan weaves a sweet romantic tale about two people who are trying to figure out their lives, and are having a hard time when it comes to finding true love.

When Kate Mitchell's soon to be ex-husband dies leaving her a widowed single mother, her life is turned upside down, and she is left trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces and go forward in her life. She leaves Connecticut for the small idyllic town of Sugar Falls, New Hampshire to clear her head and come up with a new direction for her life.

Volunteer Fireman and hunky handyman Jim Pearson has a way with using tools, but when it comes to romance, he's sworn off complicated women and their messy baggage. That is until he meets Kate, who is staying at his Gram's lake house for the summer.

This was such a fun romantic story to read, I couldn't help but get drawn into Kate and Jim's story. I loved the attraction and connection that Kate and Jim shared, it was fun following them as they struggled to find common ground, and let their romance blossom with the well-intentioned matchmaking by their fun loving meddling grandmothers. I also loved following Kate's journey of self-discovery as she learned to embrace the changes in her life and find passion to move forward. The author uses a nice mixture or humor and romance to weave a sassy tale that is thoroughly entertaining.

With a quirky and cast of characters who are realistic and fun loving; humorous dialogue and interactions; a richly descriptive lake town setting; and a satisfying romantic storyline that easily draws the reader into the story, Luck of the Draw is a wonderful first book in a new series that I am eager to read.

Luck of the Draw is a heartwarming story of self-discovery, finding the passions in life, and a pleasantly unexpected luck of the draw at getting a second chance at romance.


Contest Giveaway

Author Cheri Allan will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour and the Super Book Blast Tour, and a $15 Amazon or B&N gift card will be awarded to another randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during both tours. A $10 Amazon gift card will be awarded to a randomly drawn host between both tours as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

The tour dates can be found here:

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

August 11: Long and Short Reviews 
August 12: Welcome to My World of Dreams 
August 13: Underneath the Covers 
August 14: Musings and Ramblings 
August 14: Happily Ever After 
August 15: Jersey Girl Book Reviews 
August 15: Kaisy Daisy's Corner - review 
August 18: The blog of C.R. Moss 
August 18: Musings From An Addicted Reader 
August 19: Renee Entress's Blog - review 
August 20: Dena Garson - Real... Hot... Romance 
August 21: It's Raining Books 
August 22: Susana's Morning Room


  1. Thanks for hosting today and celebrating launch week for LUCK OF THE DRAW!

    1. Hi Cheri! Thank for the opportunity to host your book tour event. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series. :)

    2. Thanks, Kathleen! It'll be out soon, I promise. :)
      Some of you may notice (if you've been following my tour, God bless you) that there was a minor snafu with the blog post today. Worry not, we're sending the Jersey Girls fresh content just for you! (So sorry for the mix-up!)

  2. So what kind of research did you have to do for the story??

    1. Well, Andra, living in a small NH town myself, it made it easy to, a-hem, get lots of local color inspiration for my book. Plus, my daughter's godfather is a volunteer firefighter and EMT, so that helped, too! We writers also tend to surf the net a lot. Google is my friend! :) Thanks for popping in!

  3. Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more, Rita! Thanks for stopping by. :) Good luck in the giveaway!

  4. Hi Rita! Thank you for stopping by and posting your kind comment. :)

  5. I love the cover and the story sounds great!

    1. Thank you! I hope you'll give it a try. :) (And, yes, I agree--it's a lovely review! Tickled pick by it!)

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and posting your kind comments. :)

  7. Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Elena! If you'd like to preview the opening chapters of LUCK OF THE DRAW, pop over to Early reviews are in at Amazon and Goodreads as well. Hope you'll give it a try, and good luck in the giveaway!

  8. A great guest post. At least chairs are useful.

  9. You never know when you might need a scythe, Mary! (e.g. when you forget to buy mower gas.) But, yes, there's something lovely about a place to SIT. Thanks for stopping in, and good luck in the giveaway!